April 2007

Technique: Curing Egg Yolks
Chef Peter Rudolph of Campton Place – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

While salted eggs are traditional in Asian cuisine, where they’re soaked in brine or tightly packed with salted charcoal, their wobbly whites and intensely flavored yellows (not to mention their almost endless shelf life) frighten off some diners. The joy of curing is the transformation of texture and the gentle infusion of flavor – why not give the humble egg the same treatment one would a pork belly? After all, curing is no longer a seasonal necessity – even salted duck eggs are in the grocery stores year–round – and in fine dining it can be a veritable art form. Take Peter Rudolph’s cured egg: a sweet and salted mousse of a yellow for which countless yolks must break. It’s a delicate business this egg curing – an elaborate salted meringue dance with the yolk switching partners every 8 hours or so. With each new pillow of meringue the salt, which gradually sucks the moisture from the yolk while seasoning it, is cleverly contained in a firm pillow that also keeps the yolk from breaking, hopefully. The end product has an intensely yolk–y flavor and silky texture. It's a yolk that isn’t cooked but isn’t runny either…it's cured.

Step 1: Make a Swiss meringue with about twice as much salt as sugar

Step 2: Cushion a flexi–mold with the meringue and gently put an egg yolk on top

Step 3: Cover with more meringue, forming a nest, and set aside

Step 4: Repeat process 8 hours later

Step 5: Continue process of replacing the meringue for 12 to 18 hours

Step 6: Rinse the egg yolk clean and air–dry in the fridge for 24 hours

Poached Green and White Asparagus with Cured Egg Yolk
Chef Peter Rudolph of Campton Place – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 4 servings


    Cured Egg Yolks:
  • 85 egg whites
  • 37.5 grams sugar
  • 87 grams salt
  • 4 egg yolks, separated, held in water

    Poached Asparagus:
  • 1.5 Liters poaching liquid
  • 8 white asparagus, peeled
  • 4 green asparagus, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

    Maitake Mushrooms:
  • 1 Maitake mushroom cluster
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    To Assemble and Serve:
  • 2 ounces Osetra caviar
  • 20 sprigs chervil


For the Cured Egg Yolks:
Bring a Swiss meringue to stiff peaks. In the dome–shaped fleximolds make a bed with the meringue and carefully place an egg yolk in each mold. If the yolk breaks replace it with a new one. Carefully cover each yolk with meringue. 8 to 12 hours later repeat the meringue process. Carefully remove each yolk from its meringue home and when appropriate replace in the new home. Remove again 12 to 18 hours later, rinse till clean and air dry in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

For the Poached Asparagus:
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook the asparagus for 4 minutes. Remove and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, being careful with the salt.

For the Maitake Mushrooms:
Clean the mushroom cluster into individual 1–inch sections. Saute in olive oil and deglaze with stock. Remove from heat and reduce the liquid to a glaze. Season and coat the mushrooms.

To Assemble and Serve::
Shave 1 egg yolk with a Microplane over a rectangle mold on each plate. Place the cooked asparagus on a diagonal over the yolk. Place 10 pieces of Maitake mushrooms abstractly on the asparagus and little quenelles of caviar around in the same fashion. Finish the dish by placing 4 sprigs of chervil around the dish.