Easy Duck Egg Garlic-Chive Mayonnaise (Immersion blender)

I haven’t purchased mayonnaise since I learned how to make an easy immersion (stick) blender version from Kenji at Serious Eats.. So easy, so adaptable, and almost (but not quite!) foolproof1—you can add your own flavorings to it. As delicious as this homemade mayonnaise is when made with pastured1 chicken eggs, it’s taken to another level with duck eggs. One of my favorite flavor combinations is garlic and chive (especially using an interesting variety not found in supermarkets, where most of the garlic is from China). The chives are from my own garden—I have a very pale green thumb, but my chives do well. Probably because they don’t really need attention. Anyway, here’s the recipe:

What you’ll need

  • immersion (stick) blender
  • a jar or container slightly wider than the head of your blender
  • a spatula or a spoon

Ingredients

  • 1 duck egg yolk2
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • a couple of pinches of kosher or sea salt
  • 2-3 grinds of white pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup of neutral oil, such as sunflower or canola; this is not the time to be using your extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped chives (use the larger amount if you like your mayo to taste the chive-iest)

How to make the mayonnaise

  1. Place the duck egg yolk in the bottom of your jar or container.
  2. Add the lemon juice, water, mustard, salt and white pepper, if using, to your egg yolk.
  3. Pour the oil on top of the other ingredients and let settle for about half a minute.
  4. Plug in your immersion blender. If it needs a special attachment (most don’t, but the Bamix does), be sure to secure the attachment BEFORE you plug in the blender. The last thing you want is to add the odd fingertip or two to your mayonnaise.
  5. Place the head of the blender at the bottom of your container. THEN turn it on.
  6. You will see the oil-egg emulsion almost immediately. At this point, feel free to move the blender around a little bit to incorporate all of the oil.
  7. Turn off the blender when all of the oil has been combined with the other ingredients.
  8. Add the garlic and chives to your mayonnaise. Using your spoon or spatula, mix them into the mayonnaise.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, to allow the flavors to meld together. I think an overnight stay in the fridge is best, but I’ve also been known to lick the spoon immediately. Of course, I’ve also been known to poke my fingers around the immersion blender to get all of the tasty mayonnaise, kind of like licking a bowl of cake batter. If you do this, MAKE SURE THE IMMERSION BLENDER HAS BEEN UNPLUGGED!!!

1I have had a couple of instances of the emulsion breaking. Each time I was rushing things. It’s important to let the oil rest for 15 seconds before starting the blender.

2Leftover egg whites can be frozen in ice cube containers and then used in other recipes when you accumulate enough of them. And duck egg whites whip up nicely, so with a few of them you could make some meringue cookies.

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Hard-cooked Duck Eggs

Hard-cooked (aka hard-boiled) eggs are nice to have on hand. Eat them with a little salt or homemade mayonnaise, quarter or slice them and add to salads, chop them to garnish other food (e.g. cooked leeks, asparagus)—there exist myriad possibilities (for both chicken and duck eggs). Because duck eggs are larger and fattier than chicken eggs, the cooking is a bit different. Here’s how I hardcook my duck eggs:

  1. Put a bunch of eggs in an appropriately large1 pan. For 4-6 eggs, I use a 4-quart saucepan.
  2. Cover the eggs with cold water. Make sure the water is 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) above the eggs.
  3. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 13 minutes.
  5. Drain the water from the pan. Once drained, shake the pan (with your eggs) fairly vigorously so that the shells crack a bit. This will make them easier to peel later on.
  6. Cover with cold water and cool eggs. Once cool, you can peel them or just place them in a bowl in your refrigerator until needed.
  7. This method yields a soft, creamy yolk. If you want a yolk that is completely cooked through, boil for an extra minute and let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes.

    1The size will depend on how many you plan to cook.

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If it looks like a duck (egg), quacks like a duck (egg)…

Then it must be a duck (egg)! My adopted Flyover home Indiana produces more ducks than any other state (as of 2010), something I never knew. I always associated duck farming with Long Island, but the quackers have largely left the island. Today, the US commercial duck industry is centered on Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California. A migration from Long Island to the Hoosier state makes sense, as Long Island real estate has become too expensive for farming operations.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s post—duck eggs. I’d always cooked and baked with chicken eggs, transitioning from the supermarket eggs (which come from battery chickens) to the more flavorful pastured1varieties, usually buying them at the farmers market. One day I saw duck eggs at my seller’s (Abbott Garlic and Poultry Farm) stand and I asked about them. Shelli Abbott feels they are richer, so I was inspired to buy a dozen and go from there. I don’t recall seeing them at my local co-op when I lived in Delaware and I never saw them for sale at the Amish stands I’d occasionally shop at back then. Now, I’m learning to cook (with) duck eggs!

So, how do duck eggs differ from chicken eggs? Well, they are spelled differently. And they have different shells, meaning that duck eggs are encased in thicker, stronger shells, compared to chicken eggs. They are typically larger, although, like chickens and chicken eggs, ducks and duck eggs come in different sizes. But even accounting for size, duck eggs have more fat (on a per gram basis) and more protein as well.

Duck_ChickenEgg

Duck egg on the left, chicken egg on the right. The striations on the duck egg are natural. Both eggs came from Abbott Garlic and Poultry Farm in Albany, Indiana.
I like both kinds of eggs, (bad pun alert!)—you could call me an egg-ficianado!

If you manage to get your hand on a dozen Flyover duck eggs, you might be asking yourself what to do with them. In my next posts, I’ll discuss my method for hard-cooked duck eggs and I’ll share a recipe for easy Garlic-Chive Duck Egg Mayonnaise.

1Pastured eggs are eggs from chickens that are permitted to roam (i.e. wander about pastures) as opposed to being confined to cages. Pastured chickens have a more varied diet (and better life!) than chickens crammed in battery cages, the norm for your supermarket eggs. I find pastured eggs to be much tastier, too!

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About Asparagus

When I think of asparagus, I think of spring. I also think of California. Not necessarily in that order. Okay, it is one of the first produce crops to appear after the winter and for folks thinking seasonally, those green (or purple) stalks are a welcome sight at markets. Indeed, supermarkets often promote asparagus (perhaps as a loss leader) in springtime sales flyers. But in the Flyover States, those supermarket spears often originate from California (or Washington State). Or so I thought. Did you know that Michigan is actually the third largest producer of asparagus in the United States? I didn’t know either. Why Michigan? Well, growing asparagus requires soils that drain well, so the sandy soils of Michigan certainly meet that requirement. Think about Michigan’s location: It’s not THE Great Lakes State for nothing! Michigan shares boundaries with four of the Great Lakes: Huron, Superior, Erie, and, of course, Michigan. Sorry, Ontario!

Michigan2

The Great Lakes are a remnant of the last glaciation and retreat, forming when the Laurentide ice sheet retreated. And the soils of Michigan reflect the materials carried by the glacier and left behind when it receded–silts and sands and stuff, oh my! Also, the soils should freeze occasionally, so again, Michigan fits the bill. But here’s a question–is my supermarket asparagus from my neighbor to the north (given that I’m in Indiana, that neighbor would be Michigan). So, I took a trip to my local supermarket to see from where the asparagus they proffer for sale actually originates. Turns out, my local Marsh supermarket stocks asparagus from California. At least it isn’t China (the world’s largest producer) or Peru (number two in production). Fortunately for me, I’ve got access to wonderful local asparagus!

Asparagus is native to Europe, Africa (North), and parts of Asia. It didn’t really appear in the United States until the mid-19th century. Asparagus has been considered both a food and a medicine, as well as an aphrodisiac, no doubt owing to its rather phallic appearance.

In much of Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, etc.), asparagus is eaten as a white vegetable, renowned for its tenderness and flavor. I recall the excitement of Spargelzeit (asparagus time) in Germany, where it was served with hollandaise sauce. Americans typically eat the plant green. Interestingly, both white and green asparagus are cultivated from the same plant—to keep asparagus white, shoots are kept covered to prevent exposure to the sun (and thus keeping the process of photosynthesis from occurring).

I love asparagus, especially roasted or grilled! On my first trip to the farmers market of the outdoor season, I stumbled across—not literally—local PURPLE asparagus.
PurpleAsparagus2
The grower told me that other customers found the purple variety (and it is a different variety) a bit sweeter. Ever the foodie, I bought a bunch and roasted them (recipe in the next post). The verdict? Yes, sweeter and full of flavor. And I love the color!

Asparagus tips

  • Asparagus is often sold in bunches affixed by a rubber band. Remove the band toward the bottom (where the stalks have been cut off) or simply snip the band with a pair of scissors to avoid damaging the asparagus tips.
  • To keep your asparagus fresh if not using immediately, place the stalks in a jar or glass with some water, then put the glass/jar in the refrigerator.
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Farmers Market Produce Recipe—Roasted Asparagus!!!

Quick, easy, simple—a delicious way of cooking that welcome sign of spring is roasting asparagus. But be warned—it is addictive. I’ve been known to eat an entire bunch of roasted vegetables. At. A. Single. Sitting.

Equipment Needed

  • large, shallow baking pan or cookie sheet, preferably with a lip to corral errant spears
  • tongs
  • silicone baking sheet or foil (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch green or purple asparagus, washed, dried, and trimmed of woody ends if necessary
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

How to roast the asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (~176°C)
  2. Place asparagus spears onto baking sheet; use a silicone sheet or foil if you wish—I do, because it makes cleanup easier
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Rotate the spears to make sure that the oil, salt, and pepper is on all sides.
  4. PurpleAsparagusPrepped1

    All prepped up and ready to go (into the oven!)
  5. When the oven is hot enough, place the sheet of asparagus inside
  6. Roast for 6-7 minutes
  7. Remove sheet from oven, turn spears over, and return to oven to roast for another 5-10 minutes—the time will depend on the thickness of the spears. You may wish to check after 5-6 minutes and remove the ones that appear done, which you’ll note by some the crispy tips and possibly brownness on the tips as well.
  8. Eat! These are good warm or at room temperature. Or the next day, straight from the fridge, directly in one’s mouth. I mean in theory. I certainly wouldn’t know firsthand how delicious eating several spears while preparing a breakfast can be.
  • Don’t throw your asparagus trimmings (or most any non-brassica vegetable1 trimmings) away! They can be used to make a delicious asparagus-flavored stock, handy to have on hand for soups, risottos, even egg poaching liquid! Just save your trimmings in a freezer bag (in the freezer, of course) until you have enough for stock. No need to thaw–just throw in to the water during your Stock-a-thon!

1The brassica family includes some rather aromatic vegetables, such as cauliflower and cabbage.

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