Alternative eggs are all the rage in my kitchen right now. I call “alternative” any egg that doesn’t come from a chicken: duck, goose, turkey, quail. I am sure that this list is by no means exhaustive, but, to be honest, it pretty much exhausts my culinary knowledge and totally blows the egg repertoire of most grocery stores.
Every week that I shop, I find more alternative flours than there are flavors of yogurt to help out those who are gluten cautious whereas folks that show a reaction to albumen, a protein found in the white of an egg, are left to stare at stacks and stacks of cartons filled with plain white chicken eggs.
News flash, grocery store buyers! Some people who have allergies or sensitivities to chicken eggs are able to eat alternative eggs with no issues.*
Not only do I find them tastier and more digestible, but I also savour the thought that their nutritional value almost doubles that of a conventional chicken egg.
However, eggs from heirloom chicken breeds are just as good since they are as a rule pasture raised and fed a supplementary diet rich in vegetarian sources. Their shells are usually colored, ranging from blues and greens to tan and chocolate brown and even pink! They are often sold in the produce section of the grocery store and are charged by the piece.
I can imagine these making great table decorations for Easter.
On a personal note, I am a duck egg aficionado.
Their strong whites improve structure and provide binding in my gluten-free baked goods, and their big yolks help me cook Nicole’s eggs just right.
She absolutely loves a well-made ghee-poached duck egg, so she can dip her bacon into its velvety custard-like yolk.
I don’t even know if the way I make Nicole’s eggs would qualify as poaching but here’s the technique: In a small skillet, melt a teaspoon of grass-fed ghee over medium-high heat. When the ghee is hot, crack a duck egg into the skillet and immediately cover with a glass lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the yolk develops a thin white coating, about a minute and a half to two minutes (about a minute for a chicken egg). Remove from heat and serve immediately.
You need to watch the skillet closely the whole time because this happens quickly; and the longer you cook the egg after the yolk is glazed over, the harder the yolk will become.
My picky little one wouldn’t touch her egg if the yolk is even one-third solid. I used to go through at least a couple chicken eggs before I was able to get it right for her. These days, big duck egg yolks let me get away with quite a few distractions on a busy school morning.
Well, I now prefer to eat my eggs the same way. I have been enjoying a ghee-poached duck egg with a side of homemade sauerkraut and several cornichons every other morning this week. So good.
If you are not a very adventurous eater, you might want to start off with a frittata. A melting pot of flavors and textures, this classic Italian egg dish will allow you to throw in just about anything. So use a lot of familiar ingredients – including leftovers, of course – as a starting point while the taste of alternative eggs grows on you.
That’s the route I took when I got some goose eggs from Peter Kelly of Eggs ‘n Quackers.
Now, these guys are huge! Just four goose eggs filled my 2-cup measure and weighed in at over one pound!
And those yolks! Oh, those gorgeous orange yolks! According to Peter, the color orange is a good indicator of the substantial amount of omega-3s in an egg yolk and testifies to a bird’s natural diet.
The result of those healthy fats from the goose egg yolks and my gravlax (Swedish home-cured salmon) was a very creamy frittata that hovered between an omelette and a quiche.
The addition of some sort of dairy to frittatas is very customary, but I imagine you can throw in an extra yolk or two to achieve the same silky texture without it. Also, use natural aged cheese (such as Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan) to make a frittata lactose free or skip cheese altogether for a dairy-free meal.
And don’t overbake it please! Treat it like any other custard: Remove from the oven as soon as the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly.
Me and my custards, right?
Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Recipe for Olga’s Original Goose Egg Frittata with Gravlax, Brown Lentils and Chard **
For the frittata:
1. 4 (500 ml) goose eggs
2. 1/2 teaspoon plus a large pinch coarse kosher sea salt, divided
3. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4. 1 cup (140 g) gravlax, chopped
5. 3/4 cup (115 g) cooked brown lentils
6. 3/4 cup (75 g) aged Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
7. 1 tablespoon grass-fed ghee
8. 2 tablespoons water
9. 1 bunch (200-230 g) red chard, stems separated and thinly sliced, greens roughly chopped
10. 1 medium sweet red onion, halved and sliced crosswise, about 1 cup (65 g)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Gently stir in gravlax, lentils, and cheese; set aside.
3. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt ghee over medium-high heat. Add onion slices and chard stems, season with a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
4. Add chard greens and 2 tablespoons water. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook until greens are mostly wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until greens are wilted and tender, about 2 more minutes.
5. Add egg mixture and stir until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center is set, about 14-16 minutes.
6. Run a rubber spatula around edge of frittata and slide it onto a serving plate.
7. For the garnish, in a small bowl toss together a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, fresh chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon of capers. Dress mixture with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spoon onto frittata.
8. Cut frittata in wedges; serve immediately.
* The information contained in this post is not intended to replace medical advice. Always check with your physician before embarking on any medical treatment.
** developed at an altitude of 4500 feet above sea level