Confession #1: Sometimes I taste with my eyes.
I bought these duck eggs simply because they were so beautiful and I wanted to photograph them. I couldn’t wait to get them home to try to capture the contrast of the marbled, deep grey-to-brown tones of the single dark egg against the delicate, near pink of the lighter ones. I was also itching to photograph the antique ceiling tile I scored from architectural salvage store. The rough metal and the peeling paint are a hazard, but I love all the texture they add to photographs.
I bought the duck eggs from Many Rocks Farm, a 40 acre farm in Washington County, MD operation that also supplies Woodberry Kitchen, the critically acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant owned by Chef Spike Gjerde, with pasture raised goat meat and heritage breed Mulefoot pork. You can find Many Rocks products at Silver Spring’s FRESHFARM Market and at the Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar.
Confession #2: I have never eaten a duck egg.
Since I splurged on these ($4.50 for six) without the faintest idea what I’d do with them, I spent this afternoon doing research, which I’ll share with you in this post. The ducks at Many Rocks Farm are Cayuga, a domesticated breed that’s been around since the mid-19th century. Cayuga duck eggs start out black and lighten to gray and then finally to white by the end of the season. Duck eggs in general are larger than chicken eggs, with larger yolks, and contain more fat, protein, calories, and dietary cholesterol than chicken eggs. Check out the Self Sufficient HomeAcre for info on nutritional differences.
Here are three ways to use duck eggs in home cooking:
- Breakfast. Duck Eggs can be cooked any way chicken eggs can – scrambled, fried, added omelets, quiche, frittatas, Eggs Benedict – you name it. The Kitchen Magpie recommends frying them (2 duck eggs are equal to 4 chicken eggs), and a girl a fork and a spoon recommends soft boiling them and serving them with toast.
- Baking. According to Culinary One, because raw duck yolks are thick, rich, and custardy, pastry chefs prefer them for making cream and custard fillings, and their higher fat content translates to richer, moister, higher rising cakes. The Kitchn has a recipe for Duck Egg Sponge Cake with Cream and Strawberries, and Foodista has one for Insanely Easy Duck Egg Cake with Rosemary, adapted from hunter and food writer Hank Shaw’s cookbook, Duck Duck Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild.
- Poached Eggs on Top. As in on top of everything, a trend that emerged a couple of years ago and hasn’t died yet, probably because it’s too delicious to extinguish. Brooklyn Supper has a post on poached duck eggs over shitake and tatsoi toasts, Washington D.C.’s Tabard Inn reportedly sometimes has poached duck eggs atop shrimp and grits with redeye gravy on its brunch menu, and I’d really like to try a duck egg on top of My Korean Kitchen’s Bibimbap recipe.
Let me know if you try any of these and they work for you. The bibimbap and the duck egg cake with rosemary are the top of my to-make list.
A final note related to this post, but not to duck eggs. Architectural salvage stores are an excellent resource for food props. If you’re in Baltimore, check out Second Chance, which creates jobs taking apart old buildings that are being demolished or remodeled and then sells the reclaimed materials to the public at a discount to help fund job training programs. They often hire the people they train. My finds at Second Chance have included the ceiling tile in this photo, old Pyrex dishes, decorative Spanish-style tiles and barn wood that Second Chance will cut to size for you.