A couple weeks ago, I mentioned how prolifically our Welsh Harlequin ducks have been laying all winter. They continue to just blow me away with their amazing work ethic – these girls almost never take a day off!
Since we have such a bounty available, we’ve let ourselves go on a serious duck egg kick lately, which is a really happy thing in this mama’s book. Did you know that duck eggs have nearly 6 times the Vitamin B12 that you’ll find in a chicken egg? They also boast twice the Omega 3’s, more than twice the folate, and about twice as much of Vitamins A, E, and B6. A nutritional treasure trove, these beautiful eggs are!While we enjoy using duck eggs in all the same ways we use chicken eggs, I think the higher ratio of rich yolk in the duck eggs makes for especially decadent hard-boiled eggs. And they take egg salad to a whole new level.
Until we had ducks, I’d never made hard-boiled duck eggs. So it took me a little while, and some trial and error, to master the art of perfectly cooking them. We aren’t cool with gray-rimmed yolks and hard-to-peel shells in this house, so it was worth some scientific experimentation to get a fail-proof method ironed out. Here’s the technique I settled on, and it’s been delivering consistently perfect results every time. I also think it’s simple, and pretty easy to remember, which is a plus (especially for those of us with pregnancy brain!)
Ok – a quick aside here. You know me. I love precision. I feel I should specify that I consider my duck eggs to be a nice “normal” duck-eggy size. They average 2.7 ounces, for those of you who like to know these things. If your eggs are on the smaller, say “jumbo chicken ” side (about 2.2 ounces), go with 17 minutes. If, on the other hand, we’re talking turkey egg territory (3+ ounces), then 21 minutes will yield the results you want.
Now when you peel these, here’s the technique. Hold them with the small, pointy end up. Give the fat end a good firm tap down on the counter. Roll the egg on the counter, just firmly enough to crack the shell around. No need to overdo it. Remove the peel, starting at the fat end. This is where the air sack was, and it’s the easiest place to start. Peel just like you would a clementine – I generally find that the whole shell comes off in one long strip. It reminds me of the old-fashioned kids game, where you’d try to peel an orange all in one piece, then throw it over your shoulder and it was supposed to form the first letter of the name of the person you were going to marry. Now I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my good friend Amanda, over at Confessions of a Type B Mama. I’ve been using this “thwack the fat end” technique forever, but never thought about why it was effective until she posted her delightful how-to on hard-boiling chicken eggs a couple of months ago. Who knew?
I’d also love to add a quick word about salt. Many folks salt the water when they hard-boil eggs, and there is a rationale to this, since salt-water boils at a slightly higher temperature than unsalted water. However, since various salts can create significantly different percentages of salt solution, this really does not lend itself to consistent results. I find that working with unsalted water, and a precise amount of time, allows for more consistent replication from one household to another.
I hope this technique works as well for you as it does for me. And if you haven’t tried duck eggs yet – do try to get your hands on some! You’ll wonder where they’ve been all your life.