11 Creative Uses For Salt-Cured Egg Yolks

egg yolks in a bowl surrounded by food
egg yolks in a bowl surrounded by food - Static Media / Shutterstock

Salt-cured egg yolks, with their deep umami flavor and firm, grateable texture, are a sophisticated addition to any chef's pantry. The preparation of salt-cured egg yolks involves burying egg yolks in a salt and sugar mixture, which draws out moisture, resulting in yolks that are firm after a period of drying. After several days, the yolks are rinsed and left to air-dry. This curing method amplifies their natural umami and adds saltiness, making them an excellent way to elevate a variety of recipes.

Salt-cured egg yolks, when properly prepared and stored, can last in the refrigerator for about a month. After curing and thoroughly drying, ensure they are stored in an airtight container to maintain their quality and prevent any moisture from affecting their texture and flavor. Whether you're sprinkling them over risotto, enhancing toast or sushi, or allowing them to gently melt over a hot steak, there are many creative uses for salt-cured egg yolks!

Read more: Hacks That Will Make Boiling Your Eggs So Much Easier

Grated Over Pasta Or Risotto

pasta carbonara with bacon
pasta carbonara with bacon - Micaela Fiorellini/Shutterstock

One of the most delicious creative uses for salt-cured egg yolks is upgrading pasta dishes, adding a punch of umami that transforms even the simplest dishes. With a firm, cheese-like texture, they're perfect for grating over a simple carbonara recipe or classic cacio e pepe. The effect of a sprinkle of cured egg yolk is similar to adding grated Parmesan: rich, nutty, and packed with savoriness.

Creamy pasta dishes are quite indulgent and rich, so incorporating a different flavor can help offset the dish's heaviness. You can give the yolk a unique that highlights another dishes' ingredients by including a range of seasonings or dried herbs in your cure. For example, chopped bay leaf, fennel, or oregano can be mixed into the salt. The herbs can then match the nutty undertone of parmesan in fettuccine Alfredo or the subtle earthiness of mushrooms in an herbed risotto recipe.

To add salt-cured egg yolk to your favorite pasta dish, simply grate using a microplane and garnish before serving. Or, try stirring the grated yolk into your grated cheese to integrate in a more even way.

Take Vegetables To The Next Level

caesar salad
caesar salad - Nightanddayimages/Getty Images

Salt-cured egg yolks can elevate salads and vegetable dishes. In a Caesar salad, the umami of the egg yolk gives another layer of depth, complementing the tangy dressing and wedging into crunchy croutons. Salads aren't all. Salt-cured egg yolks can transform roasted or steamed veggies into gourmet sides. Sprinkle grated yolk over roasted asparagus, caramelized Brussels sprouts, or tender green beans. The briny yolk flavors contrast the natural sweetness of the veggies of many summer vegetable, balancing core flavors.

The next time you prepare one of your favorite creamy salad recipes, like pasta or potato salad for a family get-together, salted egg yolk can be an easy ingredient to employ. Prep the base of the salad ahead of time, preferably a day before, to let the flavors meld together. When it's time to serve, add a final garnish of freshly grated salt-cured egg. If you're someone who likes boiled eggs in their potato salad, this can cover the same flavor without requiring you to boil any chop. This is also a great addition if you are making a potato salad without mayo, but want to still include th eggy flavor.

Elevated Avocado Toast

mashed avocado on toast
mashed avocado on toast - Creative Credit/Getty Images

Avocado toast, a beloved breakfast staple, is commonly topped with a fried or poached egg. Switch things up and try topping your avocado toast recipe with sliced, salt-cured egg yolk. The dense, richness of the salt-cured yolk complements the buttery avocado. This pairing works because both ingredients share a velvety texture, yet the intense savoriness of the yolk enhances the mild nutty sweetness of the avocado.

For a creative twist on classic avocado toast, there are a few wats to incorporate salt-cured egg yolk. Consider thin slices if you would like the flavor to be bolder, and if you also prefer slices of avocado on your hearty sourdough toast, then place them in alternating layers with the egg yolk slices.

If you're going with mashed avocado toast, you might consider seasoning it with grated salt-cured egg yolk, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dash of black pepper. However, if you spread the grated egg yolk on top, it should slightly melt into the warm avocado. For a spicy kick, include some crushed red pepper flakes.

Salt-Cured Egg Yolk Melts Into Soups

ramen with egg
ramen with egg - Digipub/Getty Images

Adding grated salt-cured egg yolk to ramen, miso, or puréed vegetable soups is another creative use for salt-cured egg yolks. Added to an instant ramen noodle soup, a sprinkle of grated egg yolk mixes well with the broth. It creates a slight thickness without being overpowering, and mimics the taste of ajitama, the soft-boiled eggs that are traditionally included in ramen. In miso soup recipes, the richness of briny egg yolk smooths out the sharpness of miso, providing a contrast to the soup's typically light and watery base.

In the case of puréed vegetable soups, such as butternut squash or potato and leek soup, the egg yolk not only enhances the texture but also deepens the flavors. When making your favorite soup, take the salt-cured egg yolk and grate it directly over the finished dish. The heat from the soup will soften the yolk, allowing it to melt into the soup. If you've planned your soup far enough in advance, this is another use for salt-cured egg yolks where you can match the seasonings in your cure to the taste of your dish.

Use As A Garnish For Sushi, Sashimi, Or Poke Bowls

salmon poke bowl
salmon poke bowl - Yummy Pic/Getty Images

Salt-cured egg yolk offers a unique way to garnish and enhance sushi, sashimi, or poke bowls, pairing exceptionally well with the natural, robust flavor of raw, sushi-grade fish. When grated over a spicy salmon roll or an ahi tuna sashimi, the yolk adds a burst of flavor that complements the delicate, fatty qualities of fish like tuna, salmon, or yellowtail.

In a poke bowl, where the fish is often mixed with a variety of vegetables, rice, and sauces, the addition of salt-cured egg yolk can act as a unifying ingredient. It helps to tie the tanginess of the bowl's dressing to the crispness of fresh veggies. To make a poke bowl at home, start by choosing a base of sushi rice or mixed greens. Top it with cubes of fresh, marinated tuna or salmon.

Add your favorite veggies like sliced cucumbers, radishes, and avocado. For a touch of sweetness, include mango or pineapple chunks. Drizzle with a soy sauce-based dressing and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Finely grate salt-cured egg yolk over the bowl to add a rich, umami-packed garnish.

Craft The Perfect Platter

charcuterie board
charcuterie board - Anna Janecka/Getty Images

Salt-cured egg yolks make an interesting addition to a charcuterie board. Traditionally, these boards feature an assortment of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, and crackers, but incorporating salt-cured egg yolks—whole, sliced, or grated—offers a creative twist that can elevate the entire board. When placed on a charcuterie board, salt-cured egg yolks pair well with milder meats such as prosciutto or capicola. They can also balance the creaminess of soft cheeses like brie or camembert. Plus, they look beautiful spread out on the board!

Try adding a variety of pickled vegetables to the mix. Items like pickled cucumbers, carrots, or spicy peppers introduce a tangy element that cuts through the savoriness of the meats and the richness of the yolks. Adding elements like honeycomb or fig jam can add a hint of sweetness that complements both the egg yolks and the meats and cheeses on the board. Be sure to have a variety of water crackers available (rosemary and sea salt would be excellent) to pair with the cheeses, meats, and sliced cured egg yolk.

Egg-Cellent Homemade Breads And Crackers

challah bread
challah bread - Shaiith/Shutterstock

Adding grated salt-cured egg yolk to your bread doughs or cracker recipes is an easy way to inject a bit of culinary flair into your baking. It follows the same principle as working a cooked egg yolk into your baking. Try mixing it into the dough for brioche or challah to prevent overworked dough that feels tough.

If you want the cured yolks to infuse throughout your bread or homemade crackers, add it during the mixing stage. This is when you combine your dry and wet ingredients. Grating the yolk directly into the dough will distribute it throughout every bite. For bread, this means adding the yolk into the flour, yeast, and other ingredients before the first kneading. For crackers, mix the yolk in with the flour and butter before rolling out the dough.

To use the yolk as a decorative topping, grate it over the bread or crackers right before or after baking. For bread, you could grate the yolk over the loaf just before it goes into the oven, or halfway through baking if you want to prevent excessive browning. For crackers, sprinkle the grated yolk over them before baking, ensuring it adheres well, with a light brushing of egg wash to act as a glue.

Crumble Over Savory Oatmeal Or Congee

oatmeal with fried egg and avocado
oatmeal with fried egg and avocado - scozma85/Shutterstock

When grated over oatmeal or congee (rice porridge), with ingredients like sautéed greens, sharp cheese, or a splash of soy sauce, a salt-cured egg yolk makes an excellent garnish. It has a distinct, concentrated flavor that differs from the more familiar topping of a fried or poached egg. While fried eggs provide a soft texture and runny yolk that blends into the oatmeal, salt-cured egg yolk brings a different sensory experience. It adds a textural contrast with its firmer, granular form, and enhances the dish without needing the whole egg.

Salt-cured egg yolk can be added to savory oatmeal or congee towards the end of the cooking process. This timing ensures that the yolk retains its texture and flavor. Once your oatmeal or congee is cooked and off the heat, grate or crumble the egg yolk over the top. This method allows the residual heat to slightly warm the yolk, but keeps it from cooking fully, maintaining its distinct taste and texture. Stir it gently into the oatmeal or congee just before serving to distribute evenly.

Finishing Touch For Steaks

grilled steak with green veggies
grilled steak with green veggies - Bartosz Luczak/Getty Images

Salt-cured egg yolks can add a wonderful finishing touch to a steak. Ribeye or New York strip steaks are excellent choices because their rich marbling pairs well with the intense taste of the salt-cured egg yolk. The fat in these cuts will render into the meat when cooked, creating a juicy, flavorful steak that complements the yolk. Pan-searing is ideal for achieving a beautiful caramelized crust while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Grilling is another excellent option, especially for adding a smokiness that pairs wonderfully with the umami of the egg yolk.

Add the thinly sliced egg yolk at the end of cooking. Once you've removed the steak from the heat, let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. This resting period is the perfect time to arrange the thin slices of egg yolk over the top of the steak. The residual heat from the steak will warm the yolk slices, making them slightly tender and allowing their flavors to meld subtly with the meat.

Blend A Salt-Cured Egg Yolk Into Homemade Mayonnaise Or Aioli

ingredients for mayo
ingredients for mayo - Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Incorporating a salt-cured egg yolk into homemade mayonnaise or aioli can transform these familiar condiments into something special. The process starts by taking a traditional base recipe for mayonnaise — typically involving fresh egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and a bit of mustard — and enhancing it by blending in a salt-cured egg yolk. This addition introduces a deeper flavor profile and an extra creamy texture.

To begin, prepare your mayonnaise as usual. In a food processor, combine fresh egg yolks with a touch of mustard, a squeeze of lemon juice, and your seasoning choices. Start the processor and slowly drizzle in oil until the mixture emulsifies into a thick, smooth mayonnaise. At this point, add the grated egg yolk, blending it thoroughly into the mixture. The salt-cured yolk not only brings its own unique taste but can also eliminate the need for additional salt. Use this upgraded mayo as a spread for gourmet sandwiches, a dipping sauce for artichokes or asparagus, or a sophisticated topping for grilled fish or chicken.

Fold Into Ice Cream

vanilla ice cream in bowl
vanilla ice cream in bowl - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Adding salt-cured egg yolk to ice cream provides a nice contrast to the dessert's sweetness, making the ice cream taste of decadent balance. The yolk also improves the texture, adding another layer of fat to the ice cream's texture. This can be a great way to give a traditional dessert a new and interesting twist!

‌To incorporate salt-cured egg yolk into ice cream itself, grate or crumble the yolk and mix it into the ice cream base before churning. This allows the yolk to distribute evenly. For a bolder taste, add a swirl of grated salt-cured egg yolk after churning the ice cream but before it sets. No time to make your own ice cream? Add this ingredient as a topping: Standard cured yolk can be grated on top of a high-end vanilla ice cream, but you can also cure the egg yolk ahead of time with flavors that will marry to ice cream. For example, at his now-closed restaurant, Fäviken, Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson was known to cure egg yolks in a syrup before serving them along ice cream. This is just one example of the possibilities available to you.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.