First, more on the duck prosciutto. Here's how it looks when you do it right. A lovely alpine cheese- Hickory Grove from Flo and Portia at Chapel Hill Creamery, rustic bread, and some bracing homemade tangelo-lime marmalade. Salty, bitter, creamy (the flavor scientists miss that one) sweet. Smooth and chewy. And the red table wine from Languedoc, Chateau d'Oupia Les Heretiques (thanks 3 Cups) a really good, cheap complement
Next- more on the guanciale I started last week. Here's how it looked after a week of sitting in the fridge coated with sugar/salt/spices
Here it's been thoroughly rinsed off, and is about to be liberally coated with some ground black and red pepper . . .
. . . until it looks like this. It's now ready to start hanging.
As it's doing here. Note that I have poked a hole through the "tail" end of the jowl, and tied the twine through the hole. Usually I just truss the thing up, but decided to give this a shot. Now, astute observers will note that I have chosen not to hang this in the box. Why? Well, I've had nothing but success hanging guanciale in this very spot for the last 2 years, giving little consideration to temperature or humidity. The meat itself is so laden with fat that I feel there's very little risk of drying out, which the box tempers, if only moderately. I figure, if it ain't broke, why fix it.
Alas, this won't be fully cured in time to reveal on the 15th for the Charcutapalooza challenge, but no matter. In about 3+ weeks, it'll be delectable. Little crisped up cubes are the perfect fat to throw in a pan when roasting ANY vegetable - squash, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, zucchini - it takes EXCEPTIONALLY well to greens - kale, chard, collards - and you will never eat Brussels sprouts again any other way once you've roasted them with guanciale; and , of course, found a reliable purveyor of pasture raised pork who can offer you jowls which you can now cure yourself following my can't- miss directions here.