This month’s mastery challenge was related to salt preserving or curing. I had already tried many of the recipes that were being suggested (salt preserved lemons, kimchi, sauerkraut, herbes salees) and was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t learn anything new this month. Then enter salt cured egg yolks. I had never heard such a thing! So I went online and did a bit of research to see if this was my project for the month.
What I learned was that when egg yolks are preserved, they can be grated onto foods to add a delicate salty buttery flavour to foods – particularly pastas. I also learned that preserving eggs has long been a tradition in Asian cultures – curing the egg yolks in soy sauce or miso instead of plain salt.
Before I started I checked out a number of different recipes as there were multiple variations. Most used a mix of salt and sugar. I was worried that the sugar would make the yolks too sweet so I stuck to straight salt.
I served the finished yolks grated with a microplane on pasta with a cauliflower based garlic sauce and it was just as I was promised – dairy free salty buttery goodness! I shared the pasta with friends and dinner and they not only enjoyed trying the eggs on the bit of pasta I had leftover, but they happily grated more egg yolk on their hasselback potatoes as well.
Here’s how I made them:
Salt Cured Egg Yolks
6 egg yolks – chicken, duck or goose
course sea salt (2-4 cups depending on your container)
apple cider vinegar (optional)
Oven and small cooling rack
- Find a container large enough to hold all the yolks (approx. double the yolk size). Some have used a muffin tin and put one yolk in each hole. Cover the bottom of the container with ½ – 1” of salt.
- Use an egg to make a little divot in the salt to place your egg yolk in.
- Crack the eggs one at a time, separating the white from the yolk. Be careful not to break the yolk.
- Place one yolk in each divot and cover the yolks completely with salt
- Leave the container uncovered and place it in the fridge (Some recipes call to cover the container. I found the salt to be too wet and took my lid off)
- Check the yolks at day 5. Remove one yolk from the salt and give it a gentle squeeze. If it is the consistency of a gummy candy, you’re ready to remove all the yolks from the salt. If not, put it back and wait 2 more days.
- Remove the yolks from the salt and rinse them in the vinegar to remove the stuck-on salt.
- If using a dehydrator, place the yolks on a tray and dry them at a low setting overnight until they have lost some “squish” and are the consistency of a stale gummy candy.
- If not using a dehydrator, you can put them in the oven at 150 for around 2 hours or leave them in the oven for two days with the oven off.
- Store in an airtight container.
There are many different versions of this recipe on the web. Some use only salt, some a mix of salt and sugar. The timing for curing and drying varies greatly so don’t worry if you leave the yolks in salt longer or dry them longer.