Overall this recipe takes about 3 1/2 weeks to prepare :) but if you wish you can cheat and purchase some duck prosciutto though it won’t be the same and curing meat, like baking your own bread and making your own jam like your grand mother did has a certain satisfaction to it. It is a slow process, it requires patience and time, many of us do not have either but I think this one is worth it especially since it is really not labor intensive. You begin with a duck breast, try to pick a “meaty” one because approximately half of the volume will disappear as it cures. Season the duck with the mixture of salt and spices (for a one pound breast you will need 1 1/2 Tbsp coarse salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 Tbsp sugar, a scant 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary and an equal amount of lemon thyme leaves), wrap in wax paper (loosely, no need to overdo it) and let it sit in your fridge for four days, unwrap and tie a kitchen twine around it as you would do to a present and hang it in your fridge, put a small plate underneath for some loose spices to fall on to. Leave in the fridge for three weeks, don’t worry it won’t spoil or rot or anything of the sort as it is being air cured like your beloved prosciutto for example. Do mark your calendar though :)
The rest of the dish will take about an hour from start to finish and its beauty is the fact it should be at room temperature which makes it suitable for any season as well as any meal – a lunch or a dinner,an appetizer or a main course.
Begin by taking the duck breast out of the fridge and letting it come to room temperature while you are preparing everything else now go on with the lentils (one cup for two large main courses or four appetizers)… Cook them in plain boiling water, nothing fancy really (no salt yet). Meanwhile start on the onion jam, chop one small red onion into small pieces, heat up some olive oil in a small pan and saute the onions until golden, add the juice of one orange and let it simmer over low heat until the juice is gone, add the juice of another orange and repeat; add salt and pepper to taste and let cool. By that time the lentils should be done (maybe even sooner depending on the lentils your choose and how fresh they are). In a bowl mix three tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, two-three cloves of garlic (minced) a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes; drain the lentils and add to the olive oil and vinegar concoction (love that word!), mix well and let sit until cool. Slice the duck breast, thin slices, poach the eggs and eat quickly while the egg yolk is still warm and runny! By the way, if you do not feel comfortable poaching the eggs you can fry them, sunny side up!
I hope your patience will be rewarded :) I know mine was.