So if you have read my bio or the introduction of my book, it should be apparent that Jambalaya holds a secret place in my heart–it was one of the first meal we used to make for dinner during campouts. When serving you would always want a solid amount of chorizo, the warmth and flavor of this dish was excellent for cold nights, the bottom parts that got stuck and crispy where my favorites, and the smoke from the fire always added to the dish.
While in San Sebastian I was eating a lot of pintxos (Basque tapas) and started working on a Jambalaya inspired tapa. And given that a yolk based topping was one of the ideas I was working with, I took this opportunity to also experiment with yolk.
Yolk Preprations Experiments
Cured Yolk – at a 1:1 ratio of salt and sugar, I cured egg yolks. For this recipe, I used egg yolks after the 4 day cure, but I I returned my other two yolks to continue curing to see that if at the week point I could get it a but more dry. The 4 day cure was not fully dry, but I was still able to scrap pieces off to use in the recipe. It has a concentrated eggy flavor with just the right about of saltiness.
Pickled Yolk – creating a liquid mix of Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Gochujang, I essentially pickled or wet-brined quail yolks for 4 days. I used quail yolk since the size would allow it the be used as is. The result of this was quite delicious, it was a really strong flavor (too strong for a minute tapa) that would be great over a bowl or rice or plopped into a soup.
Fried Egg – another variation I used was a regular fried quail egg.
Pickled Yolk Version
The last topping was a simple Raw Quail Yolk with a tough of smoked salt.
Jambalaya Pintxo Recipe
Starting from the bottom-up.
Crispy Rice Base
One of the features I wanted to have was a crispy rice base, similar to the rice that gets stuck on the bottom of a dutch oven. To do this, I first undercooked short grain rice–high starch content. With not pre-wash, I put 1 cup rice : 1.25 cup water into a pot, brought to a boil, then reduced heat for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally. What you end up with is sushi rice that is roughly al dente but still sticking together.
I used the cap of a spice bottle to then shape the rice into round circles before placing it in the fridge for one hour to cool + dry.
The next step was to bake in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes so that the rice starts to cook together, followed by a stove top fry.
What resulted was the exact texture that I was looking for! The rice had also fused together with enough strength for ingredients to be placed on top and then picked up without breaking. In retrospect, I would add some flavorings during the initial boil and frying steps so that the rice base has more flavor in the final preparation.
I had to make this chicken friendly for a friend, so I bought store made chicken sausages and removed the meat from the casings. I added garlic, paprika, red chili powder, oregano, and cumin to bring Creole / Southern flavors into the dish.
After letting the mixture sit in the fridge for a couple hours, I spread the sausage meat onto a baking pan and let it bake in the over. Using the same spice cap, I cut out sausage circles.
Chives – fresh chives
Pickled Red Pepper – sliced red pepper in vinger, sugar, and salt
Tomato Butter – briefly boiled Golden Plum Tomatoes to remove the oven with a touch of onions, emulsion blended, and added softened butter. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Yolk – used the different versions above to test which worked the best for this dish
Testing / Plating