At times, you will find yourself making a recipe where only egg-whites are needed, such as this pavlova. What to do with the leftover yolks? Sure, you could make an awesome mayonnaise, or a rich, pasta carbonara, however, if you really want to impress some dinner guests (or just yourself) try to cure your yolks!
Making salt cured egg yolks is such a cool and unique way to make use of otherwise slightly boring eggs. You can thinly slice the salty, rich yolks onto some salad, grate some onto pasta, incorporate some into a creamy sauce, or use brightly-colored crumbs to decorate finger food such as little crackers with salmon. There are so many ways to use them!
While it’s not very difficult to make them, it does take quite some time…mostly spent on passively waiting, though. While doing some research on the best strategy to cure egg yolks, I found out there are many different ways to do so. Some people leave the eggs in the salt for only 4 days, while other recipes call for 2 weeks of salt-curing… I opted for somewhere in the middle. I suppose it all depends on what kind of texture you’re looking for in the end; slightly sticky and gummy, or hard and crumbly like an aged cheese?
There’s also a decision to be made about what to cure the eggs in. Some people cure the yolks in salt only, some like to add sugar (including me), while others experiment with different flavor combinations. While my recipe here is for a basic cured egg, you can try adding pepper, chili flakes, dried thyme, or garlic powder, to name just a few of the many possibilities! I’ve even seen a recipe by someone whom added lime zest and bonito flakes, really the sky is the limit!
After leaving the yolks in salt (or your prefered combination of ingredients), they also have to be dried. Most people opt for drying them out in an oven set at a very low temperature (around 70 °C) for about two hours, or until the yolks feel dry enough (meaning: not sticky on the outside). Those that don’t own an oven that goes to such low temperatures, can leave the eggs in an unheated oven for about two days, or hung in cheesecloth in the fridge for up to a week. The yolks are done when the outside feels dry to the touch.
Sure, it may take some time to cure the egg yolks, but the flavorful and beautiful outcome really justifies the time spent on making them. You can save the yolks in an airtight container for up to a month, so it’s easy to always have some on hand to give an extra umami boost to your meals (like this carbonara)!
Salt-Cured Egg Yolks
- 250g kosher salt, or sea salt
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- Get a small container to cure your egg yolks.
- Combine salt and sugar well and fill the container with about half of the mixture.
- Use the rounded side of an egg (or a sauce spoon) to create indentations for the yolks into the salt/sugar mixture.
- Separate your yolks from the egg whites and gently place a yolk into each indentation in the salt. Make sure the yolks have enough space in between them.
- Cover the yolks with the rest of your salt/sugar mixture.
- Place the container, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 7 days. When the eggs feel firm and only slightly sticky, they are done.
- After 7 days, remove the eggs from the salt and gently brush off as much salt as you can. Gently rinse your yolks under cold running water to get rid of the last bits of salt. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Now you either: Pre-heat your oven to 70°C, place the eggs on a wire-rack, and leave them inside the oven for 2 hours. Or: wrap each yolk separately in a piece of cheesecloth and hang them in your refrigerator for another week.
- The eggs are done when they feel firm and dry to the touch. You can now thinly slice them, or grate them over your dish. The eggs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a month.