A Guide to Alternative Eggs
We all know about and have eaten eggs. They are one of the more ubiquitous ingredients in cooking and are also healthy and easy to cook. But recently, more eggs than just those from standard hens have been frequenting markets and restaurant menus (think duck and quail eggs in omelettes or cracked on top of pizzas).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the wide variety of eggs available, we put together a guide for the eggs you are most likely to encounter at your local farmers market. Hopefully the notes below will spruce up your egg knowledge and maybe even encourage you to mix up your cooking and shopping practices.
Bantams (on the far right) are relatively rare, small hens that produce tiny eggs with a dark yolk. The 50-50 ratio of egg yolk to egg white makes them great for frying. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/drewdomkus)
These light blue eggs come from the Cream Legbar hen that was originally bred from a mix with the Araucana breed of chicken that also lays blue eggs. However, because of mixed breeding, the eggs will sometimes be a greyish blue, khaki, or an olive green color. With rich, creamy yolks, these eggs work well poached or fried. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/ImaginationKids)
Tiny, speckled eggs, these delicate delights have pale yolks and can be quickly cooked (because of their small size). They are great soft boiled, added to a salad, on top of greens, or pizza. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Brook Herman)
These large, beautiful eggs are housed in a hardy, ivory-colored shell and are equivalent of about 24 standard hen eggs (give or take a little). Their size makes them ideal for decorating during Easter but also means that they take a lot longer to cook then the comparatively miniature hen eggs. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Simpologist)
Guinea Fowl Eggs
Thicker and stronger than a standard egg shell, guinea fowl eggs have a dark yolk and are about the equivalent of two standard hen eggs. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/LizLoughlan)
Stored in blue-green shell, these large eggs take about an hour to boil or 30 minutes to scramble. Their taste isn’t too dissimilar from standard eggs, but one emu egg produces about 10 times as much as a standard egg (and costs more too). Try adding vegetables to the scramble and make sure you have a partner or two to help you eat it all. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Samatt)