The humble egg is a family favorite. It's a quick, healthy solution for breakfast. A reliable standby for lunch. A welcome change for dinner. When I came across something recently about cured egg yolks, my curiosity was peaked and I had to dive right in. I've tinkered with the original recipe from Bon Appetit slightly, and am looking forward to continuing to experiment with it.
Cured yolks add a salty, creamy depth to dishes. I grate them over pasta, over salads, on simple steamed vegetables and on top of several types of toast. They add an umami dimension that is eminently satisfying. Here's my favorite part: you can use them in place of a hard, salty cheese to make a dish dairy free. I used four yolks each time I made this recipe, and because a little goes a long way, they last a long time. (Make sure to reduce the amount of added salt to a dish if you plan on adding cured egg yolks). You can see the step by step process that I used below, or follow along on my highlighted Instagram Story.
Without further ado, here's my adapted recipe:
1 2/3 cups kosher salt
11/4 cups sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon zest OR 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill (optional, or add your own fresh herb)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Whisk salt and sugar (and optional lemon zest or herb of choice) in a bowl to combine. Evenly spread out half of salt mixture in an 8x8" glass baking dish. Using the back of a tablespoon, create 4 depressions in salt mixture, spacing evenly. Carefully place an egg yolk in each depression. You can freeze the whites in an ice cube tray if you don't plan to use them immediately. Gently sprinkle remaining salt mixture over yolks and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 days. (continued below)
Preheat oven to 150°F. My oven only goes as low as 170°F, so that's what I used. Brush salt mixture off each yolk, then carefully rinse under cold water to remove any remaining salt (yolks will be semi-firm, and bright, as shown below). Gently pat dry with paper towels. They'll look a lot like glacéd apricots.
Generously coat a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray; place yolks on rack. Dry out in oven until opaque and texture is like a firm Gruyère cheese, about 80-90 minutes. You can experiment with the timing of this based on how firm or soft you'd like your yolks. When the cooking is done, let them cool. They will last up to a month in a refrigerated airtight container.
Here are some of the ways that I used them:
Top left: here we've got sourdough toast with labne, avocado, thin slices of cured egg yolks, microgreens and fresh ground pepper.
Top right: simple salad with micro greens, baby arugula, purple radish and grated cured egg yolks.
Bottom left: fresh pasta with oven roasted oyster mushrooms and baby kale with grated cured egg yolk and fresh pepper.