In Asia, few markets are without stalls piled with the bluish, beautiful duck egg, but many Westerners overlook or are intimidated by this wonderful addition to a recipe.
In The Philippines, a magnificent local version of Cremé Brulee called Leche Flan gets much of its thick custard texture from duck eggs.
Those familiar with duck eggs swear by them for ice creams and light baked products such as sponges, which benefit immensely from the extra fat and protein content in duck eggs compared to chicken eggs.
Salted duck eggs (cured in lime and ash) are an excellent ingredient widely used in a number of Chinese and other dishes.
In Cambodia, the extra richness of duck egg makes it a favorite topping for neutral flavors such as the breakfast staple Bobor Sor (plain white rice porridge). People allergic to chicken eggs have reported being able to consume duck eggs without problems, and duck eggs are much higher in protein and certain nutrients than standard chicken eggs.
Yet many Western cooks are seemingly still mystified by the humble duck egg, believing it to have a stronger flavor that its cousin chicken egg (not always) or to require special handling (in fact, they can be easily interchanged with chicken eggs, taking into account their extra size when adding them to a recipe).
The following is a Cambodian salad recipe using duck egg which combines the extra body of duck eggs with fresh garden vegetables to create an unusual, vitamin-packed showcase for the fruit of the duck.
The lime, palm sugar and fish sauce dressing is very typical of Cambodian cold salads. The lime perfectly balances the richness of the eggs. It provides a wonderful talking point for dinner parties and garden brunches yet is fantastically simple and easy to put together.
Cambodian Duck Egg Omelet Salad
Preparation time 20 minutes.
Cooking Time 20 minutes.
2-3 medium cucumbers, halved, deseeded and sliced into three times lengthways and then across to make 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) chunks
4 spring onions, cut to the same length as the cucumber
3-5 purple Asian shallots, sliced thinly
2-3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
Handful of Asian salad herbs such as Thai basil, saw-leafed herb, paddy herb. Lettuce or rocket may be substituted.
3-6 duck eggs, depending on size (Asian duck eggs are smaller)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Water for mixing with eggs
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
Coriander leaves, to garnish
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1-3 chopped red chilies (optional)
Crushed roasted unsalted peanuts (optional)
1. Beat eggs together in a bowl with enough water to make an omelet consistency.
2. Add zest and juice of lime to egg mix.
3. Turn egg mixture into a skillet and cook like a Spanish omelet until firmly set. Allow to cool and cut into cubes.
4. In a large salad bowl, lay out a bed of the herbs or lettuce, then pour the already tossed egg cubes and other salad ingredients over the top except for the coriander, peanuts and chili.
5. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and spoon over the top.
6. Sprinkle with coriander, and chilies and peanuts if using and serve.