Duck Eggs: Eating Adventurously
Saturday 5 September 2015 — Category: Cooking & Food
Earlier this week I went to the Wednesday Farmers’ Market in Corvallis, about a 15 to 20 minute drive from my home in southwest Albany, Oregon.
I must confess that I have not been in the habit of shopping at a farmers’ market, but it makes a lot of sense. Why buy food grown in and shipped from Latin America when I can get fresher food from farmers who are also my neighbors?
Among the numerous benefits, when a major crisis hits and foreign food is no longer available, I will be very happy I helped local farmers stay in business! To me, it seems like it is worth paying a bit extra in order to buy and eat good local food.
Among the items on my shopping list that morning was something exotic which I had never before purchased: duck eggs! Do modern Americans even eat such things? When I think of duck eggs, I picture peasants in a thatched cottage, a thousand years ago.
Even though I am only a gourmet chef wannabe not ready for prime time, nevertheless I have been intrigued by the information presented in the Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg cookbook by Portland author Andrea Slonecker. She writes:
“Duck eggs can be used interchangeably with chicken eggs; they just take a little longer to cook. I do hope you will use duck eggs if you can find them at a farmers’ market or specialty grocery store. The richness of a duck egg is remarkable when gently cooked, as with poaching and soft cooking in the shell. They add extra va-va-voom to nearly any egg dish.”That sounded good to me ... it was time to break out of the shell of my food bigotry and get cracking with duck eggs!
Refusing to chicken out, I entered the Rasmussen Family Farm stand which I had scoped out a few weeks previously, and told the lady — Mrs. Rasmussen, I presume — that I wanted to buy some duck eggs. She asked if I had ever had them before. I replied that I hadn’t and that I was kind of scared to try them.
She confessed that she had been scared too, so that she had always used the duck eggs mixed with chicken eggs. Then she realized that because she was selling them, she had better find out what they really tasted like all by themselves. Once she discovered how wonderful they are, she prefers them to chicken eggs.
After paying the $5.95, I was the proud owner of a dozen duck eggs! While doing our other shopping and then driving back to Albany, my wife and I kept wondering if a baby duck was going to pop out of the carton! Fears stemming from novelty and ignorance are not easily dispelled.
Once I got the duck eggs home without any new pets, I proceeded to do a bit of informal scientific investigation — and of course, photography. My main goal was to compare these new exotic shelled thingies to the much more familiar eggs from chickens.
For some years now, we have been getting our eggs from a family friend who raises chickens on her farm. They are generally good-sized eggs, probably what would be considered large to extra-large at the store.
I took the carton of chicken eggs out of the fridge and put one of the ducks eggs into it. But it was so large in diameter that it would not fit all the way down to the bottom of the carton. That’s why it looks so tall compared to the chicken eggs in the first egg photo to the right.
The largest chicken egg we had weighed in at 60g (2⅛ oz). Most of the duck eggs were between 72g and 78g (2½ to 2¾ oz), but a couple were in the low 80s and one was even 90g (3⅛ oz). As you can see in the second egg photo, the 90g duck egg is quite a bit larger than the 60g chicken egg.
Well, now that my duck eggs had been purchased and examined, the next step was to cook some and eat them. As of today I have made two duck egg meals, but those details will have to wait until the next two articles.
Don’t miss the next thrilling episodes of Duck Eggs: Eating Adventurously!