If you’re in need of a dairy free option for Parmesan cheese, you are going to be amazed by this solution!
Fresh egg yolks are cured in a mixture of sugar and salt, which draws out their moisture and completely transforms their texture and flavor -after 4 days, the yolks have jelled and are transformed into tender golden orbs with the same salty flavor of Parmesan (it doesn’t even taste like an egg anymore!).
Although it’s not a substitute for recipes like pesto when 1/4 cup or more of Parmesan cheese is called for and is blended together into a mixture, it is perfect when you want to use it as a garnish/condiment over your foods. Because the yolks cure to a semi-firm texture they can be grated over foods like pasta, salads, or baked potatoes. Even with just a little bit you’ll notice how much richness (because of the fat) and body it adds to your foods.
Use any container you like that can be sealed, and is deep enough that it will allow for at least 1″ of the salt/sugar mixture underneath and over top of each yolk. After adding half of the salt/sugar mixture into your dish, make a depression and place the yolks into each. Use the remaining salt/sugar mixture to gently cover all the yolks completely, again with at least an inch of mixture on top of each. Seal container and place in fridge for 4 days…no peeking!
Gently scoop out each yolk, and brush off excess salt/sugar mixture. You can reuse the salt/sugar mixture but it must be thoroughly dried out again before another use.
Under cold water, gently remove the remaining salt/sugar mixture and place on a wire rack that has been well greased. bake at 150°F for 1 1/2-2 hours. If your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to it’s lowest setting then use a wooden spoon to keep the door cracked a bit. Once they have cooled completely they are ready to use!
Cured Egg Yolks
- 1 3/4 cups kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4-6 eggs
- Mix together the salt and sugar and pour half of it in a container that is at least 5" deep (like a round casserole dish or sealable plastic container).
- Make 4-6 depressions in the mixture, depending on the size of your container.
- In a separate dish, crack the eggs placing the whites* in a dish and the yolks into each of the depressions.
- Gently spoon the remaining salt/sugar mixture around each egg and then over each to cover completely with a thick layer. This is what is going to absorb the moisture from the yolks, so be sure to have at least an inch of the mixture above and below each yolk.
- Seal container and place undisturbed in fridge for 4 days.
- Take a spoon and gently lift out each yolk. Brush away the excess salt/sugar mixture then gently run under cold water to remove all traces of the mixture.
- Place yolks on a greased wire rack (over a baking pan) and bake at 150°F for 1 1/2-2 hours. If your oven doesn't go that low, set it to it's lowest setting then use a wooden spoon to keep the door cracked a bit.
- Allow to cool completely before using a microplane (or fine grater) to grate over salads, pasta, baked potatoes, soups or casseroles. You can use a sharp paring knife to peel the 'skin' off, or use whole as is.
- Wrap each yolk individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.