Recipes: Using Duck Eggs

A Touch Of Luxury

Recipes: Using Duck Eggs

By Janice Cole, Minnesota

Chickens take note: the world of eggs is expanding around this country. While only a few years ago free-range chicken eggs were difficult to find, they’re now a staple in most grocery stores competing for space with ultra-local, cage-free, omega-3 and sometimes pasture-raised eggs. My local grocery store has a myriad of choices; in fact, a couple months ago I did a double take when I saw a stack of quail eggs offered for sale right next to the chicken eggs! We’ve definitely come a long way.

What really tops the hot list right now, however, are duck eggs. Duck eggs are trending across the country. Chefs are featuring them on their menus from breakfast through dinner and into dessert, while top food sites are sharing information and recipes on the cooking and nutrition of duck eggs. If you’re wondering why duck eggs are the current darlings, you may not have had an opportunity to taste them.

One bite will tell you that duck eggs are an upgrade: a luxurious version of chicken eggs. Duck eggs are larger, richer and creamier than chicken eggs. They’re a special treat like that nibble of extra-dark chocolate you sneak. A little something that makes life pleasurable. And the world is taking notice, because who doesn’t appreciate a little extravagance now and then?

duck eggs is their size. Duck eggs are large — about 30 percent larger than large chicken eggs. And they’re heavy. Their shells are extra thick, which gives them more protection and therefore a longer shelf life. This thick shell means you’ll have to use a little more effort to crack it open but it’s worth it, because inside you’ll find a huge, creamy, vibrant orange-yellow yolk and translucent white.

Duck eggs can be prepared exactly like chicken eggs and many who taste their first duck eggs are converts. They describe the taste as silky, creamy, richer and just plain eggier. Duck eggs have a yolk almost twice the size of a chicken yolk creating a richer flavor with a little more oomph than a chicken egg. Most ducks are free-range and have a healthful varied diet that translates into a more flavorful egg.

Many people start eating duck eggs for nutritional reasons. Most people who are allergic to chicken eggs find they can eat duck eggs, as the duck eggs don’t contain the protein they’re allergic to. Duck eggs also contain more nutrients with higher omega-3s, but on the flip side, they also contain more fat and cholesterol per egg. However, one duck egg is a satisfactory serving while often two or more chicken eggs are used per serving. The gluten-free crowd has also adopted duck eggs for baking, claiming the extra protein creates moister and more delicate cakes and breads.

Cooking with Duck Eggs

Duck eggs can be fried, scrambled, hard-cooked and poached just like chicken eggs. However, duck eggs are a little less forgiving if overcooked. When frying and scrambling be careful not to cook at too high a heat or the eggs will become tough and rubbery. When hard cooking duck eggs, use eggs that are at least 3 weeks old or more, as fresh duck eggs are extremely difficult to peel, and make sure you adjust the timing to allow for the larger egg. Duck eggs are particularly good in making homemade pasta and mayonnaise or tossed in salads. The Chinese have long prized duck eggs and many Asian recipes call specifically for duck eggs. In fact, I’ve heard that the flavor of Egg Drop Soup is phenomenal when made with duck eggs.

Hard-Cooked Duck Eggs

Place duck eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a complete boil; cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water until cool and peel. Serve sprinkled with a good sea salt.

Baking With Duck Eggs

Duck eggs have a reputation for being prized for baking. They are said to create moister higher cakes, creamier custards and smoother ice creams. However, when substituting duck eggs for chicken eggs in cakes and breads, the size of the eggs needs to be taken into consideration. Most recipes are written for large chicken eggs. A standard large chicken egg is about two ounces; I have found most large duck eggs to be about three ounces and therefore 30 percent larger than chicken eggs.

This needs to be taken into consideration when baking or your baked goods formula will be off. To substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs in a recipe, measure the eggs by weight (most accurate) or by volume. One chicken egg measures three tablespoons by volume (two tablespoons egg white and one tablespoon egg yolk).

Duck egg whites can take a little longer to beat into stiff peaks than chicken egg whites but they produce voluptuous foam that causes cakes to rise high. For the easiest beating, separate the eggs while cold and beat them at room temperature.

Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole

Availability

Duck eggs are commonly available at farmers markets and food co-ops and some upscale grocery stores. Or check into your local Asian markets where duck eggs have always had a following. Or, if you’re up for an adventure, try something new next spring and raise a few of your own backyard ducks. They’re amusing creatures, great backyard foragers and they’ll provide you with incredible eggs.

LEMON-RASPBERRY CAKE

This gorgeous sponge cake has a bright yellow hue due to the rich pigment in duck egg yolks. Flavored with lemon syrup, layered with raspberry preserves and topped with a cream cheese frosting, this cake makes any occasion special.

Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole

Adapted from a recipe by Darina Allen in Forgotten Skills of Cooking.

Cake

3 duck eggs, separated

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

Lemon Glaze/Raspberry

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two (8-inch) round baking pans with parchment paper; grease and flour parchment paper and baking pans.

Whisk egg yolks in small bowl until blended. Whisk flour and baking powder in a separate small bowl until combined. Beat egg whites in large bowl at medium-low speed 1 minute or until foamy. Slowly beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Increase speed to medium-high; beat 2 to 3 minutes or until glossy stiff peaks form.

Whisk egg yolks into egg white mixture by hand. Sift flour in 3 parts over egg white mixture; gently fold in flour mixture after each addition, folding until combined. Divide batter between pans.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown, top springs back when gently touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes; run small knife around outside edge of pan; invert cake onto wire rack. Remove and discard parchment paper.

Meanwhile combine lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar in small cup; stir until sugar is dissolved. Brush lemon mixture evenly over cake rounds immediately after removing parchment, while cakes are still hot. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon peel in large bowl at medium speed until combined. Slowly beat in heavy cream; beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla extract.

Place 1 cake layer on serving platter; spread with raspberry preserves. Spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; gently spread remaining frosting over the top.

12 servings

FRIED DUCK EGGS OVER BACON-POTATO CAKES

Olive oil is the perfect cooking medium for frying duck eggs as its savory flavor complements the rich duck yolks.

Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked mashed potatoes

4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

2/3 cup panko

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 duck eggs

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked butternut squash, warm

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Aleppo pepper, if desired

Directions:

Gently stir mashed potatoes and bacon together in a medium bowl; form into 8 potato cakes. Place panko on shallow plate; coat potato cakes on both sides with panko.

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add potato cakes and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Return skillet to stovetop; adding additional oil if necessary. Heat oil over medium heat until hot. Carefully add eggs; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until desired doneness, being careful not to overcook. Meanwhile arrange potato cakes on serving plates, surround with squash and spinach. Place eggs over potato cakes; sprinkle with salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper.

4 servings

Janice Cole copyright 2015

CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD WITH DUCK EGG DRESSING

The yolk of a duck egg creates incredible emulsions in dressings, mayonnaise and sauces, such as this classic Caesar dressing. Don’t be afraid of the anchovies; they’re essential as they add a meaty umami flavor that is unique to Caesar dressing. Once you taste this original classic version you won’t be able to go back to the ubiquitous bottled Caesar dressing again.

Photo by Janice Cole
Photo by Janice Cole

Dressing

1 duck egg

3 to 4 anchovies

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 medium to large garlic clove

1/3 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons olive oil

Croutons and Salad

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups cubed artisan bread

1 head Romaine lettuce, leaves separated

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine all dressing ingredients, except canola and olive oils, in blender; blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly pour in canola oil and olive oil.

Heat 1/4-cup olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add bread cubes; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until brown, stirring and tossing frequently.

Toss lettuce with enough dressing to coat; toss with grated cheese. Arrange lettuce on serving plates; top with warm croutons and garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.

4 servings

Janice Cole copyright 2015

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