A few years ago, I used some fresh duck eggs in baking, and was enchanted by the bright, rich yolks. With that in mind, I decided to investigate duck eggs in other contexts.
For the experiment, I purchased a box of six Clarence Court duck eggs. I’d been warned that duck eggs were a lot more delicate than chicken eggs, and therefore to handle them accordingly. Indeed, these ones have calciferous white shells that do seem a bit thinner than a chicken egg shell. That being said, inside the shell there’s a tough membrane, so actually breaking into the egg (or the egg breaking open accidentally) does require a bit of effort.
I tried four standard ways of preparing eggs:
- Soft-boiled: As a duck egg is almost 1.5 times the mass of a chicken egg, I soft-boiled it for seven minutes. Getting the egg out of the shell was a bit tedious, but the result was tasty. This method obviously highlights the rich, tasty yolk, which is one of the primary advantages of the duck egg.
- Scrambled: Scrambled duck egg makes for a tasty meal, with a bright yellow colour. However, since this method involves mixing together yolk and albumen, it isn’t as distinguishable from the chicken egg equivalent.
- Fried: Sunny-side-up, with a soft yolk, this is another good method for showcasing the yolk.
- Poached: Compared to soft-boiled, you trade off the tedium of getting it out of the shell after cooking for the extra effort required for poaching. Getting the timing right on this is also a bit trickier, as it takes a while for all the white to set, but you don’t want to leave it so long that the yolk goes hard. I probably took mine out too soon.
Duck and egg donburi
I’m a big fan of the chicken and egg donburi (oyakodon), a dish in which chicken, onion, egg and dashi stock are all served in a bowl with rice. I decided to try a duck equivalent version, using duck egg, duck breast, spring onion, spinach and hoisin sauce.
I’m not going to post the recipe just yet, because although the meal looked great, my first (and so far only) attempt lacked punch in the flavour department. I think the next attempt will involve glazing the duck breast in plum sauce, and perhaps adding some Chinese five-spice.
I’m not about to switch over completely to duck eggs for my everyday needs, but they made for a nice change of pace. Any time I crave a rich yolk, however, I might consider treating myself to a duck egg or two.