A confit egg yolk often appears on numerous fine dining menus, serving as a finishing touch of richness and creaminess. This beautiful gleaming, bright yellow orb works with nearly everything –- seafood, meat, and pasta. While it looks like a difficult cooking trick to pull off, it's actually not hard to do once you get the hang of it.
Unlike a cured egg yolk that changes the texture of the yolk, the confit process ensures that the yolk remains silky and smooth. It all starts with separating the yolks from the whites (you can save the whites for another cooking project). Then, the yolks go into a baking pan or pot filled with oil. You want to make sure that the yolks are completely covered by the oil. Gently slide the pan into a very low-temperature oven -- no more than 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You want the yolks to gently poach in the oil.
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How To Confit Your Yolks
The amount of time the yolks stay in the oven will vary depending on the consistency you're trying to achieve. So, the longer the yolks are warmed through, the more firm they will become. There's some variation between recipes on how long it takes, with some saying it will take about 30 minutes to cook, but many suggest an hour in the oven or a little less. The oven temperature you've selected is another factor, as well. If your oven's lowest temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll want to pull them from the heat sooner.
The delicate nature of this process may explain why some cooks like to use a sous vide machine to confit egg yolks. This water bath device allows the yolks to be immersed in a temperature-controlled environment. To sous vide the yolks, place them in a bag, cover them with oil, and vacuum seal the bag closed (or use a really well-closed, heavy-duty zip-lock bag). Place the bag into the water bath once the device has warmed the water to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The yolks should be done in an hour or so.
Ways To Use Confit Yolks
Since the yolks are submerged in oil, you've got an opportunity to experiment with seasoning them. Olive oil is always a great choice, but why not try a flavored olive oil instead. These days, you can find olive oil with lemon, basil, or even hot pepper added in. You can even branch out and see how a different type of fat might work, such as bacon fat. Duck fat would be good here as well, giving the yolks an even more luxurious richness.
Once your yolks are ready, you can use them to add richness to a variety of foods. Try sliding one of these golden beauties on top of your favorite fried rice recipe. A confit yolk also makes a great finishing touch to an array of pasta dishes. Imagine giving your carbonara sauce an extra eggy boost. The confit yolk would be a perfect fit for a steak tartare as well as a filet mignon. If you want to go a bit simpler, try it as a topping for toast with sautéed mushrooms. And if you have any leftover yolks, don't worry. They will keep for up to a week if you keep them in the oil.
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