Fowl Thang: A Chicken, Duck, Turkey and Quail Egg Throwdown

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All I wanted was a dozen eggs from the farmer's market.

But then I saw they had both brown and blue eggs.

"Oh well," I thought. "I can always use a couple dozen eggs. Heck, I could probably go three and be just fine."

The words, "...just fine" were still hanging in the air of my psyche when the farmer asked, "Have you ever tried turkey eggs?" My eyes got a little wider, I glanced at my daughter who was standing beside me, grinned, then looked back at him.

"Well, you have turkey eggs for sale?"

"Oh yeah," he smiled. "We've got turkey eggs and duck eggs."He bent over and started looking around in the coolers below him before I could protest.

"Duck eggs? Are they weird? What do they TASTE like?" I was talking to myself in rapid-fire when he popped up with a half-carton of turkey eggs...with only five, beautiful, perfect, lightly brown speckled good size beauties nested in the cardboard.

"These are $3.00 a half-dozen, so you'll have to do the math." He placed a carton of duck eggs on the table as he was explaining to me that I was going to be calculating my own grocery tab. My son-in-law got out his phone, opened the calculator app and I breathed a sign of relief.

Well, we were set. Four different kinds of eggs with a few words of preparation from the farmer:

"Have you ever eaten turkey or duck eggs before? [he waited for all of us to nod our heads "no"] Well, okay. Then I won't tell you what to expect. I know what I think about the differences, but come back and let me know what YOU think."

I really liked that guy. If he only knew how impressionable I am, then he would understand how much he saved me from preconceived notions about these eggs.

About the time he finished his comments, an idea hit me. I decided right then and there that we needed to have a Brown, Blue, Duck and Turkey Egg Throwdown.

My daughter volunteered to help judge, then so did my son-in-law. Okay, we were going to DO this!

But then I found quail eggs from another I bought them too.

I was loaded up with almost $20 worth of eggs and felt giddy. I thought of my friend's phrase, "Yippee, skippy!" and my feet did a slight jig on the way to the car. My kiddos and I set the time for the throwdown, parted ways and headed to our separate destinations.

When I got home, I opened all the cartons again, looked at the beautiful differences of the various varieties and smiled. I couldn't wait until the following day!

But I did, and it finally got here. So, what did we find out?

Our results were very unexpected and I'm so glad we took the time to compare them for ourselves.

We decided to cook them two ways where the taste would be compromised very little. We agreed to poach and boil. That way, we could taste the completely cooked texture of the boiled eggs, and taste the poached eggs with the yolks in a quasi-liquid form.

Our results

We first tried the eggs poached.

The brown~ had a mild, slightly bland generic "egg" flavor. Nothing special here, but nothing to complain about either.

The blue/green ~ had a dark gold yolk and a hearty, thick and meaty flavor. When discussing the flavor and finish we used the words earthy and buttery.

The quail~ surprised us all. It was sweet, like light chicken meat, tender, buttery and had almost a velvet texture. Really good.

The duck ~ slightly oily, the flavor had "hang time," sweet and gamey, and a thick consistency.

The turkey ~ had a bright flavor, it was mild, the texture was slightly sticky or gummy, but over all surprisingly pleasing as well.

Overall, we were surprised that we could easily eat all of them plain, in omelets, or utilized as an ingredient in baking.

We did have preferences, however, because when we all ranked them 1-5 on best (1) to least favorite (5), a clear order appeared. The quail eggs were ranked number one, the blue/green chicken eggs number two, the duck and turkey tied for third, and the brown chicken came in dead last. It tasted like what we can only describe as a cage raised egg...anemic, like many we purchase in the grocery stores.

Now to the boiling...

An interesting thing about boiling eggs is that somehow it seems the flavors blend a bit, and overall mellow to a degree.

I normally boil eggs by putting them into a pan, turning on the heat and then once the water reaches a rolling boil, let them cook three minutes. I then turn off the heat and let them cool down naturally for at least thirty minutes before washing off with cold water and peeling.

To adjust to the size of the larger turkey and duck eggs, I cooked them at a boil for 4.5 minutes. The quail egg was only boiled two minutes.

All of the eggs were cooked perfectly so it was easy to focus on the taste. After trying the first two, we could tell that our thoughts on the flavors were going to be exactly the same as the poached.

So, we kept trying them but basically stopped being completely discriminating.

I wish you could have seen the teeny-tiny boiled quail eggs. Oh wait, you can! I didn't place anything "to scale" beside the photo, so I rendered as close to life sized as I could get:

A few final notes...

Quail eggs are delicious, but have tough shells. So do the duck and turkey. Therefore, if you're going to do something amazing with them such as create a beautiful amuse bouche, or place them delicately cooked on top of an entree with capers as a fun garnish, you'll need to learn how to "tear" the eggshells open. Otherwise, you might accidentally puncture the yolk.

I was thinking that I wished we had an ostrich egg during this throwdown.

Boiled duck eggs bounce after they've been peeled, somewhat like an oblong rubber ball. They're great fun to play with.

And...the shells are incredibly beautiful. See?...  

I hope you have your own adventures with all kinds of "Fowl Thang" products. I really learned a great deal and would eat anything we cooked again. And again.

Find me at the Red Dirt Chronicles...

Best, Red Dirt Kelly



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