Besides chicken eggs, there are several other types of edible bird eggs that are readily available in gourmet markets. Duck and quail eggs are probably the most popular with ostrich and goose eggs becoming more and more common. Even eggs from pheasants, turkeys, and emus can be found in more stores and on more menus around the country.
The most obvious difference between all these types of eggs is the size, with quail eggs being the smallest and ostrich eggs being the largest. A second difference is color. Emu eggs are a greenish black color, similar to that of an avocado; quail eggs have black spots all over them; and, some duck eggs can be blue.
The shells of some of these eggs are also much thicker than chicken eggs and can be difficult to open. Ostrich eggs, for example, are notoriously difficult to open and may even need the help of a saw. However, quail eggs are extremely delicate and should be handled with care.
As for the taste, each egg has its own flavor, but all still taste like eggs. Depending on how discerning your taste buds are and how the egg is used, you may or may not be able to taste the difference in eggs.
For instance, duck eggs have a slightly stronger taste than chicken eggs and, because ostrich eggs are so large, they have more of an "egg" and gamey flavor. Quail eggs are so small that they have a less strong flavor and are typically eaten raw.
As far as cooking with other types of eggs, you can pretty much do anything you would do with a chicken egg; however, you need to take into consideration the size of the egg.
For example, one ostrich egg equals about 20 to 24 chicken eggs and you would need to use about 4 to 5 quail eggs to equal one chicken egg. So, if you are thinking about substituting chicken eggs for any other type of egg for baking (cakes, cookies, muffins), make sure you know exactly how many eggs to use because it could drastically affect the outcome.
It is a good idea to stick with chicken eggs for baking and use the other varieties for omelets, poaching, hard boiling, scrambling, etc., where the exact amount will not affect the outcome of the product. Besides baking, different varieties of eggs can be cooked any way chicken eggs can; they are perfect as substitutes in omelets, egg salads, deviled eggs, or simply eggs over easy.
Certain types of eggs, however, do have better ways to be cooked. For example, barely cooked quail eggs taste delicious over steak tartare while duck eggs are perfect poached and placed in a bowl of Asian noodle soup (when you cut them open, the yolk runs out and mixes with the broth).
If you are unsure of how a different type of egg will taste in a recipe, try eating it over easy first so you can get the flavor and figure out what to do with it. As always, have fun and be creative with new flavors!
Makes 2 servings
Makes 2 servings
Makes 8 servings
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