By Diane Whitten
For the first time, duck eggs are now available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays. You’ll recognize them by their larger size and mottled color. The shell of duck eggs is thicker than chicken eggs, so it takes a little more force to crack them. Once they are cracked, you’ll notice the yolks of duck eggs are visibly larger than chicken eggs. Since duck eggs at the market are from free-range ducks, you’ll notice the yolk is a dark yellow indicating a higher nutrient content including omega-3 fats. Store duck eggs the same way you store chicken eggs, up to 5 weeks in the refrigerator.
Because the yolk takes up a larger percentage of the whole egg, duck eggs are 30% higher in fat, have twice the cholesterol and 50% more vitamin A compared to chicken eggs. This is one of the reasons why bakers love to bake with duck eggs. Baked goods have a richer flavor and texture, a golden color and stay moist longer when made with duck eggs. Also because of the protein baked goods made with duck eggs are fluffier and hold their shape better, making them excellent for gluten free baking. Pastry chefs know that the thick, rick yolk makes duck eggs superior to chicken eggs when making cream and custard fillings. The white can be whipped into a wonderful meringue.
While duck eggs seem to improve the flavor of baked products, some people don’t like them cooked in other ways because they taste slightly different. I’ve tried them deviled and in an omelet and thought they were delicious. The only way you’ll know is to try them poached, scrambled, fried or in an omelet. Be careful not to overcook your duck eggs, if you choose to fry them – the low water content increases the chance of overcooking. To make hard-cooked (boiled) duck eggs it takes the same amount of time (20 minutes) to cook them as it does for chicken eggs. So for your next party, try deviled duck eggs. You’ll notice that the whites are whiter.
If you plan to use duck eggs to replace chicken eggs you’ll need to adjust the recipe to allow for the slightly larger egg. When baking the most exact way to do this is to add the eggs by weight. One chicken egg weighs 2 to 2.5 ounces, so if you have a food scale weigh the equivalent amount of beaten duck egg. Otherwise, since duck eggs are about 30% bigger than chicken eggs, 3 duck eggs equals 4 chicken eggs. No other adjustments need to be made to your recipe. For your first recipe made with duck eggs try the following Basic French Omelet. The original recipe called for two chicken eggs while this one is made with one duck egg; just enough for one serving.
Basic French Omelet
1 duck egg*
1 tablespoon water
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs such as chives, tarragon, parsley (optional)
½ teaspoon oil
2 tablespoons filling of your choice (optional such as grated cheese, lightly sautéed peppers, onions, spinach, asparagus tips)
Beat eggs, water, salt, pepper and herbs, if desired, in small bowl until blended. In a 7-10 inch non-stick omelet pan over medium-high heat, heat a thin layer of oil until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture. Mixture should set immediately at edges. Gently push cooked portions from edges toward the center. Continue cooking, tilting pan and gently moving cooked portions as needed. When top surface of egg is thickened, and no visible liquid egg remains, place filling on one side of the omelet. Fold omelet in half with turner, and slide omelet out of pan onto plate.
Makes 1 serving.
Per Serving: 160 calories; 15 g fat (1.5 g sat); 620 mg cholesterol;
2 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 0 g fiber; 105 mg sodium.
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