September 25, 2011

Salted Duck Egg and Tomato Salad

Itlog na Maalat (salted duck eggs) and kamatis (tomatoes): the quintessential Filipino side dish. Though labeled as a salad, it is not eaten before the main meal customary in Western dining. It's more considered a side dish to be eaten along with your ulam (viand) and of course, steamed rice.

A few months ago in Spring, the egg vendor at my farmers market was selling duck eggs so thought I'd give it a try making my own itlog na maalat. I went to research and found this great pictorial on the photo blog My SariSari Store about the process of making salted duck eggs in the Philippines (there are four parts).

Though chicken eggs may also be used, duck eggs are traditionally used for their bigger size and fatty yolks. Commercially-prepared salted eggs are also brined in mud! Dirt and water mixed along with salt are used to brine the duck eggs for about 3 weeks. Though my sons would gladly approve of any opportunity to "cook" in the mud I think it'll be one messy project!

Thank goodness there is another, less messy, way which is to just soak the eggs in saltwater. It would make sense to use sea salt and not the common table which has iodine. I ended up using two cups of salt dissolved in six cups of water. The porous eggs shells will absorb the salt from the water and flavor the eggs inside. Osmosis at work and my sons got a science lesson out of it. ;)

You also need a little bit of patience for they take about three to four weeks to cure. And since fresh eggs float in the water, you need something heavy on top to keep the eggs totally submerged in the saltwater. A plate or a sealed food-storage bag filled with water placed on top will work fine. Keep the container with your eggs and saltwater in a cool place, I kept mine at the bottom shelf in my pantry. I boiled one egg for ten minutes to test for my preferred saltiness. If you think the eggs achieved the right salty flavor, just boil the rest. If not, just keep soaking them for a few more days, for up to a week.

I was not able to take pictures in-process but I believe it's easy and straightforward. The last three eggs you see here are ones I made all the way back on Easter, enjoyed with the Summer's ripest tomatoes. So you can see, once you cooked them, they keep for a long time in the refrigerator. Now I want to make more.

I've actually been asking my egg vendor for more duck eggs. My egg vendor told me he had been collecting eggs from his ducks but was not comfortable selling them to me due to the summer heat. And now with Autumn's arrival, the ducks have slowed their egg production.

This is my entry for this month's Kulinarya, the challenge: red, white, blue and yellow -- colors of the Philippine flag.  So you thinking where's the blue: the egg shells of course!


Wok with Ray said...

I am impressed that you made your own itlog na maalat, Wow! Nice post, Caroline! Thank you for participating. :)

Anonymous said...

Great take on the theme.


wow carol, you're on a roll! i didn't expect 2 new posts from you back to back... but boy it was a pleasant surprise... great take on the theme this month. Gosh, how come I didn't even think of something like this? The flag-colors theme intimidated me heheh .
but yeah please do your salted egg process again. Is it that simple.. i mean just brining it? wow never thought... and you got a duck egg pa! Impressive my friend. Keep it up! Miss you!

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen said...

Great to cook along with you on the KCC Challenge, Caroline! Love this's one of my faves!

Reel and Grill said...

another beautiful creation for the theme, salted egg is a top favorite of mine ... glad you used it ... :)

Jun Belen said...

Great minds think alike. I started brining my duck and chicken eggs about a month ago and they're now ready -- ready to be posted for this month's KCC challenge, too! I cured them in brine water and had them for dinner last night with tomatoes just like you made them. So good. Lovely post, Carole.

PinayinTexas said...

Beautiful entry, Caroline...and
great job on the salted eggs! I haven't done it myself. You just inspired me to. I just hope I can find some fresh duck eggs here.

Oggi said...

Simply delicious itlog na maalat salad. I guessed correctly the blue shells.:)

I also stopped buying salted duck eggs and now pickle them myself. They taste and look much better.

Dudut said...

you already (ikaw na!) LOL! great job on the salted egg!

salad for filipinos are indeed being eaten with the viand, not before :)

glad to be cooking with you!

arnold | inuyaki said...

I love that this post is also science experiment. I'm hungry for eggs now. :)

peachkins said...

I love this post because I loooove salted duck eggs!

Annapet said...

Itlog na Maalat and Kamatis: My favorite ulam =). You are right, salad technically, but more popular as a side dish. Now I want to make itlog na maalat. Must find duck eggs.

Caroline said...

Ray - Thanks! Your challenge was great, glad I made it.

Anon - Thanks :)

Malou - Go buy some eggs, let me know :) Miss you, too G!

Betty Ann - one of my faves, too!

Boyet - Thanks, I'm glad too!

Jun - I have to brine chicken eggs for now, I ate all of it! Yeah, great minds! ;)

Tina - More luck finding duck eggs in your local farmers market. Please try & let me know.

Oggi - Yay to making our own :)

Dudut - Thank you, hopefully more cooking with you.

Arnold - LOL yup science is cool! :)

Peachy - Hurray for Itlog na maalat :)

Ninang - Yeah I can eat this as ulam, too! :) Go make some so they'll be ready for Simbang Gabi (aka bibingka time).

Gay said...

Hey, that's a sosyal way to serve itlog na maalat!

TaGa_Luto said...

Beautiful color on your eggs, the yolk, it's so perfect. I love your heirloom tomatoes as well. Good job on the KCC Challenge.

Emily said...

Oh My! Very interesting... I do love duck eggs!


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