How do you cure an egg yolk? First, you have to get it to admit that it’s sick. But after that it's a pretty easy process - gently bury it in equal parts salt and sugar... and wait.
The first time I saw someone curing an egg yolk on YouTube, I jumped out of my chair and immediately burrowed a dozen yolks into a sugar and salt bath, and then noted the effects on each as I pulled them out at different time increments. But even when I found the perfect curing time and fleshed out all the different methods to produce this tasty little garnish, the question still remained. . . now that it's cured, what do I do with it?
Ted and I have great fun in the kitchen playing the "What if?" game. What if we put this with that? That with this? What if we tried braising it instead of roasting it? What if we use yogurt instead of cream? It's discovering the answers to some of these questions that has led us to some pretty interesting plates.
Sometimes it’s immediately clear if something has worked. . . or if it hasn’t. Then there are the times that the initial results disappoint, but potential remains and you wait until the day inspiration finds you and one slight tweak leads to a stunning success.
The slightly cured "just long enough" version that produced a thin savoury membrane over the luminous, raw yolk, naturally made us think of breakfast. Black pudding and streaky bacon. The debut performance of our slightly cured egg yolk was basically a bite sized breakfast complete with hollandaise sauce served in a potato basket. The black pudding component eventually got melded into a delicious croquette, which in turn lent itself very well to our homemade raisin chutney.
And then came the day we asked “What should we do with these asparagus that won't last much longer?”
Wrap them in proscuitto and serve them with a black pudding croquette and the lonely cured egg yolks. Obviously.
It writes itself.