At some point, the internet coined a term "yolk porn", so much so that any Instagram post with a runny egg yolk had the hashtag in its caption. It might even be as popular as the Avocado Toast trend . But I have an uncomfortable relationship with raw egg yolks. A mild and confusing case of self-diagnosed ovaphobia has governed my ability to withstand the sight of a runny egg yolk. I once saw a distant cousin, scoop an entire yolk with a spoon and it made me extremely uncomfortable and the yolk on sunny side up eggs can make a little sick. But there are times when I do like to eat a runny yolk when its in a soft boiled egg or a lightly fried egg where the egg is cooked on both sides. And when I cook for others, photograph and style recipes for shoots with runny yolks, I try to think of other things so I don't get uncomfortable.
These days, I've been playing with curing and smoking food and I came across just the recipe to test my case of yolk-phobia, a salt cured egg yolk by the folks at Bon Appetit. The recipe itself is easy and the results were very surprising; it tastes just like cheese and even shaves off like parmesan. And it didn't make me run away in fear. The shaved yolk is a wonderful garnish over salads, tacos among other foods.
A couple of kitchen notes;
- In the photo with the egg yolk sitting in the salt, I mixed the garam masala in to the salt. But I don't think that's worth it since it doesn't add much flavor at this stage. Instead add it to the yolk like I've listed in the instructions below, just before you stick the yolk into the oven.
- You can try other spices like ground chipotle or cumin or spice blends
- You can make several yolks in one sitting, just make sure to increase the amount of salt and spices as needed.
- Bon Appetit recommended drying the cured yolk for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 150F but I found 145F at 4 hours to give me the best result.
salt cured egg yolk seasoned with garam masala (adapted from Bon Appetit)
makes 1 cured yolk
1 separated egg yolk
1/2 cup kosher or fine sea salt
1 tablespoon garam masala
olive oil or vegetable oil spray
Place half of the salt in a small ceramic or glass bowl and make a depression in the center. Carefully place the yolk in the depression and cover it with the remaining salt. Wrap the bowl tightly with cling film and leave it in the refrigerator for 4 days.
After 4 days, place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 140F. Unwrap the bowl and carefully remove the cured yolk, lightly brush off the excess salt using a pastry brush. Quickly rinse the yolk under tap water and dab with a clean kitchen paper towel. Toss the yolk in a small bowl with garam masala. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat the rack with the oil spray. Place the seasoned cured yolk on the rack and place it in the oven for 4 hours to dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To use, shave the yolk with a zester or grater and use it as a topping or garnish for salads, soups etc, as you would a hard cheese.