Behind The Blue Door

Stylish Weekends | January 1, 2016 |

Follow the flock –

what to do with duck, goose and other eggs



Forget everything you thought you knew about this common-or-garden staple, the egg is enjoying a moment in the culinary limelight. And it’s no small wonder, with duck, goose, and quail eggs offering different takes on flavour, texture and nutritional punch. Here’s how to celebrate the ultimate convenience food.

Quail eggs

Considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, these eggs of the smallest game bird – the quail – are a clever canape component and a Japanese bento box favourite.

Divine when simply boiled (semi-soft yolk) with a dash of celery salt on sourdough alongside roasted tomatoes, quails eggs also star in more elaborate dishes. This Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for celeriac purée with spiced cauliflower and quail’s eggs recommends frying the eggs, which makes the most of their larger yolk to white ratio and slightly stronger flavour.

Time to boil: Soft boil – 30 seconds. Hard boil – 1 minute.

Duck eggs

Richer, tastier and with a higher protein content than hen’s eggs, duck eggs are also higher in cholesterol, so go easy. When boiled, the whites turn slightly blue and the yolks are red-orange.

Time to boil: Soft boil – 3½-4 mins, hard boil – 9-10 mins.



Image source: Rachel Phipps for Borough Market

Rachel Phipps is a food blogger inspired by travel. Dividing her time between London, Los Angeles, the Kent countryside and France, her recipe for poached duck egg with chilli and market greens (pictured above), commissioned by London’s Borough Market blog, is seductively simple:


  • Lightly toasted rustic french bread
  • Large knob unsalted butter
  • 2 large handfuls market greens (chopped)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 duck eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over a medium heat until it is frothy. Add the market greens to wilt and cook down. Add different greens such as thinly sliced leeks, spinach and chard according to their usual cooking time.
  2. Meanwhile, half fill a medium saucepan and bring to the boil with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, then poach the duck eggs for three minutes each.*
  3. Season the greens to taste with sea salt and spoon them over pieces of toasted bread before topping each slice with a poached egg.
  4. Sprinkle both plates with dried chilli flakes and a few good grinds of black pepper.

*Perfect poached eggs

The perfect poached egg isn’t as simple as it might sound. To get it right every time, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure you’re using fresh eggs – if you’re not sure, put them in a bowl of cold water. You’re looking for eggs that sink to the bottom and lie on their side.
  2. Bring the water to a steady simmer and add a dash of vinegar.
  3. Crack the eggs individually into a cup.
  4. Gently stir the water to create a whirlpool (this helps the egg to stay together).
  5. Tip the egg into the whirlpool and cook for three minutes.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper or a clean cloth.
  7. Tidy up any ragged bits and serve.

Ostrich eggs

These taste like hens eggs but are much larger. Rather than use them in any recipes, our advice would be to boil these up as an Easter novelty, toast a plateful of soldiers and invite everyone to get stuck in.

Time to boil: Soft boil – 50 mins, hard boil – 1½-2 hrs.

Hens eggs

It may be one of the most common culinary staples but never underestimate the versatility of the humble chicken egg. Once vilified for high cholesterol levels, today’s eggs contain less cholesterol and more omega 3, thanks to better hen feed since the BSE crisis.

Time to boil: Medium- soft boil: 2½-3 minutes, hard boil: 6-7 minutes. Large – soft boil: 3½-4 mins, hard boil: 9-10 mins.

Ramen eggs (aka nitamago eggs) and a pumpkin & kale sushi rice bowl

Eat like a girl founder Niamh Shields is a blogger, traveller, cookery teacher and sometime food tour host too. Her ramen eggs add zingy Japanese flavours to the richness of the boiled eggs.


Image source: Eat like a girl

Goose eggs

Creamy and rich, these are the perfect component for an omelette, or with asparagus soldiers for a special breakfast.

Chef Mark Hix’s crispy goose egg with creamed bacon and wild garlic recipe for The Independent is simple but substantial, offering a mix of hearty flavours.

Time to boil: Soft boil – 9-10 mins, hard boil – 13 mins.


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