Curing egg yolks in salt is a great trick I learned from a chef friend of mine, the talented Brett Weber, now chef de cuisine at the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis.
You take some duck yolks (chicken would work fine too, but they won’t yield as much) cover them in salt, let them sit for two days, then wrap them in cheese cloth and hang them for a week. Afterwords the yolks can be shaved like cheese.
Now the basic salted yolk is a great thing, but eggs, more than anything else I know, will absorb aromas from things they come into contact with. When I got a batch of truffles this year, I did an experiment using truffled salt in place of regular salt. The truffled yolks tasted so strong that they took over the flavor of a recent soup I made, almost all I could taste was truffle, just from a teency bit of grated yolk hitting the broth.
After I found out how good the truffle salt worked, I started using herbs, and the results were fantastic. Needless to say, you don’t have to have truffles to enjoy the salted yolks, anything with a strong perfume would be excellent. For example, salt ground in a robot coupe/food processor with lovage or rosemary gave awesome results too. Next year I will have to try ramp leaves.
You might find yourself wondering what you could garnish with shaved, salted egg yolks. Here are some of the ways we’ve enjoyed using them.
- Shaved as a garnish on beef tartare
- As a garnish for a soup
- In place of cheese on a dairy-less salad
- In place of cheese on a dairy-less pasta
Truffle Salt-Cured Duck Egg Yolks
Duck eggs or goose eggs are the best for this since they are so large, but chicken eggs make a fine substitute. If you don’t have fresh truffles, don’t worry. Truffle salt can be purchased at many specialty markets, I even see it in the discount aisle at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.
Like I mentioned, you don’t have to use truffles either for this, making perfumed salt blends with herbs will give great results too.
A little bit of cured yolk goes along way, so I’m scaling this to two yolks, which will be more than enough to garnish 10 plates or more, depending on what you’re doing.
- 2 duck eggs
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black truffle, grated
- Spread 1/2 of the salt in a layer in a container such as a tupper-ware, the container doesn’t matter that much, just so long as the yolks don’t get sloshed around, since they would break. I have used cookie sheets, tupper-ware, and 1/2 pint canning jars, they all worked fine, but the 1/2 pint canning jars were probably the easiest to use.
- Crack the duck eggs one at a time in your hand, allowing the white to fall through into another dish. Save the whites for an omelet or something, or discard.
- Gently place the yolks on top of the salt and then cover with the rest of the salt, making sure they are completely covered. Refrigerate the yolks for 2 days.
- After two days, remove the yolks from the salt and wrap in cheese cloth. Tie up the yolks and hang them to dry for 1 week in a cool dark place. After a week, remove the yolks from the cheesecloth, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. To serve, grate the yolks as you would cheese (preferrably with a microplane grater as they are salty).
Future cured egg research
While I was typing this up, I had a fun thought on a variation you could make with these. So I cure fish to make gravlax, I use a proportion of salt and sugar. Sugar, like salt, has preservative properties, and you could use the same mix, (dill would be great) to cure some eggs. Going even farther down the bunny hole, I know that eggs are used in many of my favorite desserts, the most interesting being a sweet dessert omelet made with berries by Jacques Chibois. Curing egg yolks in sugar should work too, and the first thing that came to my mind was curing them with vanilla sugar, and then grating them on top of a cake, one with berries in it sounds the best to me. I’ll do some research and update this post If I come up with something.