Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cured Egg Yolks

I was watching a programme about the MAD Food Symposium on line somewhere when I came across Christian Puglisi and his restaurant Relae in Copenhagen. An ex Noma chef who has gone it alone, whose restaurant sounded like somewhere I'd definitely like to eat. He talks of tiring of fine dining and opening his own place with no tablecloths, filled with laughter and joy and a great kitchen. It's very inspirational. After reading more and more, I ended up ordering his book of the same name, Relae.

When the book arrived I read on. It is the story of how he opened and his ideas, theories and inspirations behind his food. It's quite full on. What became apparent also, was that Christian's version of a stripped back restaurant project that was bistro in style, simple with no fuss, was slightly higher end than mine. The individually hand made wooden tables that have a secret drawer for your knife, fork and napkin; they gave that away. Christian was not scrabbling around saving money for a new toaster; nope. But inspiring non the less, it's reading stories like his that make me think I can do more. It inspires me to imagine new projects, keep going and work hard; to create delicious food and places that people like to come to.

So as well as all that, this book was my introduction to cured egg yolks. At Relae they serve a 'snack' that is a taco made from a disc of baked celeriac filled with a celeriac remoulade with lemon creme fraiche and buttermilk, topped with peppery cress and then a heavy grating of cured salty egg yolk.

I know that you're not going to look at this and think 'mmm... I'd love some cured egg yolks for dinner...' but bear with me. They are delicious. At Relae they cure theirs in pure salt for 24 hours and then dry them in a dehydrator. I did some reading around the subject, as I don't have a dehydrator, and settled on this method...

Start by finding a small container that will fit 6 egg yolks and some room to breathe, then mix equal quantities of caster sugar and fine salt together, I used 250g of each to cure 6 eggs. Mix the salt and sugar thoroughly then spread half of it over the bottom of your container.

Make 6 small indentations into the salt and sugar mix and place an egg yolk into each, this is a good excuse to make meringues with your egg whites too if you fancy. Then cover the yolks completely with the remaining salt and sugar. Cover and place in the fridge for a week.

After a week take them out of the fridge and carefully dig the yolks out of their hiding place, you will find hardened golden yolks as your prize. Rinse them off under a cold tap, I them left them to air dry on a rack for an afternoon. Then they are ready to use. I used this lot grated thickly over a venison tartar at a recent supperclub, they are a delicious rich sweet yet salty addition that was lovely with the irony meat and sharp capers and cornichon.

I'd like to try them in a version of a carbonara, with fried guanciale and grated egg yolk. I think a version of a Lyonnaise Salad would be good too, with bitter leaves, herbs, bacon and grated yolks. Or with some fresh hot asparagus and hollandaise, rich egg on rich egg...


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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x