Duck eggs need a little more care in both handling and cooking than hens’ eggs.
Duck eggs are usually organic or free-range – the people who rear ducks tend to be smaller producers and because there is not a huge demand for them, they are not intensively-reared. That is an advantage for people who want fresh natural food that has not been over-produced. But you also need to take a little extra care as they may not be subject to the same rigours and checks as hens’ eggs.
Safefood, the Irish agency that advises on food safety says on its website: ‘Some sensible precautions are needed in the handling of duck eggs and their preparation. Salmonella causes food poisoning with diarrhoea and vomiting. However, more severe cases can go on to develop blood poisoning or meningitis. Whether you buy duck eggs in a supermarket or get them from someone you know, it’s important to remember the advice on handling, storing and preparing duck eggs safely.’
How to handle, cook and eat duck eggs
Wash your hands and any utensils when handling duck eggs
Wash your hands if you have handled duck egg shells just in case there is any salmonella present. Store the eggs in a sealed container in the fridge. Wash all the utensils you use well.
How to cook duck eggs
Duck eggs need to be cooked for longer than an average egg – they are usually a larger-sized egg and they weigh more so it is common-sense that they will take longer to cook than a traditional egg. Safefood suggests that you cook them right through – don’t eat them poached or soft-boiled for example – and don’t lick the bowl if you choose to use them to bake with.
Never eat raw duck eggs
Never use duck eggs raw, or in meringue, mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce where they are lightly cooked.
Recipe using duck eggs
Duck Egg, Bacon and Asparagus Salad with walnut and mustard dressing
4 duck eggs
8 spears of young fresh asparagus, trimmed
8 strips streaky bacon (smoked if you wish)
For the dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut, hazelnut or sesame oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or wholegrain mustard
1. Boil the duck eggs for 8-9 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, then roll them on a hard surface to crack the shell. Peel.
2. While the duck eggs are cooking, simmer fresh asparagus spears in a pan of boiling salted water until tender. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
3. Fry the strips of streaky bacon in a non-stick pan until crisp.
4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until they emulsify. (Add more vinegar if you want a sharper dressing.)
5. Cut the warm duck eggs in half and serve with the asparagus spears and crispy bacon. Drizzle with the nutty mustard dressing, using only enough to coat the asparagus spears – store the rest in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Photograph copyright foodpixies.com