Photo by Tony Yoken
For the past year, I’ve participated in an egg CSA from Van Cheeseman at Flora at Bluebird Farms. I love getting the eggs every week because they taste so good and the colors in the cartoon are beautiful.
Every week, Cheeseman urges me to try his duck eggs. “The chefs love them because the yokes are so rich,” he always says. So recently, I switched up my order, toting home a dozen eggs from Cheeseman’s runner ducks.
So how do duck eggs differ from chicken eggs? They are much larger, almost filling the palm of your hand. The texture of the egg shells also is silky smooth, so smooth, in fact, that if I were an artist, I’d want to try painting them. Crack open an egg, and you find the shell is tough, requiring two smacks on the side of the bowl. Duck egg yokes also are larger than chicken eggs and a deep, orange color.
Anxious to compare tastes, I scrambled up a few duck eggs with a little butter and salt. They were creamier than chicken eggs. Next, I tried duck eggs in a mushroom and basil quiche. When I make quiche, I separate the whites from the yokes, mix the yokes with the cheese and veggies, whisk the egg whites into peaks, and mix in the whites just before baking. With duck eggs, the yokes are so big, there’s not a lot of whites leftover. So duck eggs would be perfect for custard, but not a good choice for meringue pie.
The next day, I took my leftover quiche to lunch to share with my coworkers, who have eaten my quiches made with regular eggs. Their opinion? The duck egg quiche is richer and more yellow. They gave it a thumbs up, all around.
Since great tasting food often has a down side, here it is for duck eggs: A duck egg has 200 percent of the RDA for cholesterol (yikes). Calories? About 130 calories for a duck egg versus 70 for a chicken egg. Happily, the rich and delicious taste of a duck egg means it is energy dense and packed with nutrients: twice the Vitamin A and five times as much B12 as chicken egg.
This article was published originally on Memphis Stew in spring 2011. Cheeseman still sells duck eggs at local farmers markets. During the winter, you can find him Saturday mornings at the Tsunami farmers market in the parking lot of Tsunami restaurant in Cooper-Young.