April 7, 2010
One of the seasonal pleasures in Maine is the appearance of duck eggs in our local markets in the spring. My friend Rose has a spectacular black Muscovy male duck. Rose and her husband Peter made a little retention pond for their ducks by diverting some of a local stream, gave them a dog-house sized house, and fenced in the area.
Two years ago a sudden fall freeze froze the pond during the night. The ducks were not locked into their house since they could escape predators by going into the pond. A predator killed the female, and the male fought all night long. When Rose and Peter found him the next morning, his wing was injured, and he was, understandably, very upset.
He spent that winter in the chicken house, which was not at all to his liking. Peter took pity on him from time to time and filled a basin with water so he could bathe. But, in the spring, one of Rose’s many friends found a white female for him, and they raised a lot of babies that year. I want to say 12 to 14. I’ll have to ask Rose to jog my memory, but I was getting eggs from Rose one day just after the female duck first brought her babies out into the world.
This spring, there are two females, and Rose has generously shared some of their eggs with John and me. A duck egg is larger than a chicken egg, and it has a very tough shell to crack. The insides are much thicker than a chicken egg, much more viscous.
Rose says duck eggs make the most heavenly pasta. I used our eggs for cheese omelets, which are large and very fluffy. These days I hardly ever go shopping for special recipes. Rather, I take what I have and make something out of it.
Duck Egg Omelets
For each omelet, crack open one duck egg and scramble it with a fork.
Add some whole raw milk, real salt (celtic sea salt or local grey colored damp salt), pepper, and whatever herbs or leftover greens you might have on hand. I was growing some onion sets in a Mason jar on my kitchen window sill (thanks to Colin Beaven’s web site–No Impact Man–http://noimpactman.typepad.com), so I snipped some of those into the egg mixture. (It was too early to have herbs outside my kitchen door.)
Melt some good butter (made from raw cream if you can get it) into an omelet pan, and when it has stopped foaming, pour in the egg mixture. Lower heat. Lift the edges and let the raw egg run under the mixture. When the omelet is mostly set, add a handful of grated, raw milk cheddar cheese and fold the omelet in half. Let it sit in the pan on low heat until the cheese melts.