ONCE A SPECIALTY ITEM DESTINED for high-end desserts, duck eggs have gone mainstream. Duck egg sales have spiked recently and they’re appearing more frequently on menus throughout the Hudson Valley.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, duck eggs are not only larger than average chicken eggs, they’re slightly darker in color and have a thicker shell, which gives them a longer shelf life. When boiled, duck egg white turns blue-tinted and the yolk turns a deep red-orange. This hints at their slightly higher nutritional content: Compared with a jumbo chicken egg weighing in at 63 grams, a duck egg, at 70 grams, has more protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B6 and B12 per egg (though they tend to be slightly higher in cholesterol and fat).
Why the surge in popularity? Simply put, duck eggs make a fluffier product—when added to flour-based recipes, the higher albumen (a protein found in the egg whites) content in duck eggs creates an airy lift in the end product. Also, the larger, richer yolks make them great in yolk-based recipes, like chef Nathan Snow’s butterscotch pot de crème, a featured dessert at The Huguenot, in New Paltz.
“Duck eggs are bigger, richer—you get more bang for your buck in terms of size and nutrients,” Snow says. “Even an omelet made with a duck egg becomes a richer, heartier meal.” Snow also serves a deep-fried poached duck egg over grilled asparagus topped with chorizo country gravy on his spring/summer menus—when the ducks at his partner farm, Karl Family Farms, are laying.
Duck eggs are in season, and you’ll likely spot more of them than ever before at local farms, farmers’ markets and restaurants. At the Beacon Pantry, you’ll find duck eggs from Arrowood Farms in Accord for $8 per half-dozen (a dozen chicken eggs sells for $5). So, why did the chicken cross the road? To have duck eggs for breakfast, of course.