This Salt Cured Yolks Recipe comes to us from guest blogger Signe Langford, from her book ‘Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs’, and we reckon it could be the start of a new craze (move over parmesan cheese…).
Sounds weird, I know, but I think there’s a certain romance to some of these old-time recipes that were born purely of necessity.
If refrigeration had always been available, we might not have cured and smoked foods, and what a shame that would be.
Preserving yolks in a deep bed of salt renders them very firm (reminiscent of a hard cheese such as Parmesan), preserves their bright-orange colour and transforms them into a rich condiment for grating over pastas, salads or potato dishes. This adds richness and much interest when brought out to the table with a Microplane on the side.
Ancient Salt Cured Yolks Recipe
Kosher or coarse sea salt
Granulated sugar (optional)
As many free-run egg yolks as you want to preserve
01. Take a non-reactive container — a glass casserole dish is good for this — and cover the bottom of the dish with a deep layer (about 3 inches/7.5 cm) of your preferred salt mixture. You can use only salt, or a 60:40 sugar to salt blend. Get a little creative and use a bit of truffle salt, chilli- or herb-infused salt, or even a smoked salt. Or how about vanilla sugar?
02. Use the back of a teaspoon to make little depressions for the yolks to sit in. Separate as many eggs as you want to cure, placing each yolk in its own dish, then very gingerly tip the yolks out of their dishes and into the indents in the salt. Cover with another deep layer of your salt mixture and place them in the fridge, uncovered, for about 7 days.
03. For each yolk, prepare a double-layered 6-inch (15-cm) square of cheesecloth and a 12-inch (30-cm) length of kitchen twine. You’ll also need to figure out a method for suspending the yolks in the fridge—I use a wire egg basket, natch!
04. After 7 days, you’ll need to dig the yolks out, and here you’ll want to be as careful as an archeologist digging up dino bones; the yolks are still fragile. Gently brush off the excess salt using a pastry brush, then set each yolk into the centre of a cheesecloth square. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth up around each yolk like a little coin purse, and cinch shut with a length of kitchen twine. Suspend the bundles in the fridge and there they will stay for about 3 more weeks, until they are almost rock-hard. Wrapped in cheesecloth and suspended for air circulation, the preserved yolks will keep for several months in the fridge.
“Ancient Salt-Cured Yolks” from ‘Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs’ by Signe Langford (Douglas & McIntyre). Photos by Donna Griffith.