Get Crackin’ With Duck Eggs

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From breakfast to baking, find the best ways to use this versatile ingredient.

Chicken eggs rule the roost in most kitchens and their place on the refrigerator shelf is not one that will likely turn over easy, but there is another shell worth cracking for culinary exploration: duck eggs.

A richer, fattier and larger version of the poultry product, duck eggs boast a higher concentration of nutrients, more protein and are usually about twice the size of a standard hen egg. Duck eggs contain more vitamins A, B12 and D, as well as higher levels of omega-3 than eggs from chickens. And while they do contain more cholesterol than chicken yolks, duck eggs are a low-carb, high-protein food that is especially popular with paleo diets.

single-duck-egg2The thicker shell of the duck egg gives it a longer shelf life and the color of the egg—which varies by breed—can range from white or ashy to shades of green or brown. When shelling out cash for duck eggs, expect to dig a little deeper—about $4 for a half-dozen at local farmers markets, as well as Whole Foods and H Mart.

As for flavor, an unadulterated duck egg mimics that of a chicken egg, but in a more intense—and eggier—flavor profile. Ducks tend to eat snails, slugs and bugs and this high-protein diet results in a more robust egg experience.

In the kitchen, use duck eggs as one might a hen’s egg—fry it, poach it, hard boil it, scramble it or bake with it. One of the most popular uses for duck eggs is in the preparation for pancakes. While the flavor of the flapjacks remains the same, the finished product comes out much fluffier with the duck variety of eggs. This is often the case when using duck eggs in place of chicken eggs in a recipe—the flavor remains mostly the same, but the texture is ramped up and changed for the better. The same is said for baked items, as the duck egg’s higher fat content makes cakes rise higher and makes meringues more stable.

Simply frying it in butter might be the best way to truly appreciate the duck egg. The larger yolk and reddish-orange hue makes for attractive plating and the higher fat content makes for more pleasurable eating. Pierce the yolk with your fork and let that fatty, unctuous yolk run. Just be sure to have toast prepared and ready to dip.

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