My friend Molly McNeil is a busy woman. She slings farm-to-table food for a couple great food trucks, she does catering gigs, and in her spare time, she’s a yoga instructor. But her secret sideline? Duck eggs. Yep, the girl is packing those pale blue beauties on a regular basis, suppling restaurants and a few lucky friends with fresh duck eggs. The eggs come from her Uncle’s farm, Minnesota Peach, in Cold Spring, MN, who is also a premium purveyor of winter-hardy stone fruits, grapes and heirloom peppers and tomatoes. They maintain a flock of heritage Indian Runner ducks, known for their prolific egg laying and foraging habit, they roam the orchards in search of tasty bits.
With Molly’s duck eggs and my pickling know-how, we concocted a delicious idea: Pickled duck eggs. Before I met Molly, I had not had the pleasure of eating a duck egg. The flavor is similar to chicken eggs, but the yolk is much richer. They’re about the size of a jumbo chicken egg (or larger) and have a bright orange center. The shells are pale blue. We hard boiled the eggs using Julia Child’s full-proof method: Cover eggs with cold water in a pan, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover for 15 minutes, chill in an ice bath. We used week-old eggs to insure easy peeling, as just like chicken eggs, fresh duck eggs cling to their shells like the dickens. After peeling, we added the eggs, spices, herbs and pickling brine to jars and refrigerated them for about 10 days. Viola! Beautiful, richly flavored eggs with firm whites and creamy yolks, spiked with salt, vinegar, herbs and spices. We threw a little cocktail party with some wine and friends to celebrate. Delicious.
The recipes below are riffs on various flavor profiles, from the classic Deviled Egg, to Asian/Thai, to Turkish. Experiment with your own combinations. Any flavors you use in a pickle you can use for pickled eggs. Special thanks to Molly Herrmann of Tastebud Tart for her flavor suggestions!