I love eggs, have since I was a child. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, hard boiled eggs, deviled (I call them Angeled) eggs, omelets. Besides chicken eggs, I’ve tried duck, quail, goose, and emu eggs, even Chinese 1000 year eggs, which incidentally aren’t 1000 years old. What I hadn’t tried were ostrich eggs.
My visit to the ostrich ranch
If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you probably saw my post about my visit to Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Piacho, AZ, on the fourth of July of this year. I took home a souvenir, the edible kind. It was the most expensive egg I’ve ever purchased. At $15 per egg, I was making an investment.
This one egg would provide the equivalent of 20 to 24 chicken eggs, so I wasn’t planning to eat it all in one meal. Hard boiling was out of the question. It would need to cook for a good hour and even then I wasn’t sure if it would be cooked through, so I opted for scrambling. Before I could get that far I had to crack the egg open.
Ever score an ostrich egg?
I wanted to break it open without destroying the shell. I thought it would make a nice table decoration, even if I didn’t paint it or carve it as some artisans are inclined to do. Thank heavens the people at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch had scored the top of the egg and given me an instruction sheet. All I had to do was place the egg on a folded towel, place a butter knife in one of the notches and hit it several times with a meat mallet (a hammer would also work!), then repeat this several in several places around the top of the egg.
The one inch round piece of shell came out easily. I removed the membrane, inserted a fork and whisked the egg so it would easily come out the hole. There was not way that yolk was going to pass through this air canal any other way, unless I C-sectioned and destroyed the entire egg.
The next step
I placed a funnel over a quart jar, turned the egg upside down watched the contents slowly migrate into the jar. I poured the overflow into a small bowl. I ended up with 4 and 3/4 cups of raw egg. Next, I washed the egg shell out with warm soapy water and allowed it to air dry. I labeled and dated the jar of raw ostrich egg, making it ready for a series of scrambles and omelets over the course of the next week. I stored the jar in the refrigerator.
How does it taste?
Like a chicken egg, but richer, more buttery. It has a more viscous, even slipper texture when raw that remains after cooking. It didn’t bother me and I’d probably eat more ostrich eggs if it wasn’t for the price.
Scrambled Ostrich Egg
Prep: 3 to 5 minutes Cooking: 3 to 4 minutes Serves: 1
I usually add fresh or dried herb and spices to my eggs before cooking, usually ground turmeric, plus 2 or 3 additional herbs and/or spices, such as basil, oregano, thyme, sage, chives, tarragon, cumin, mustard, curry powder, parsley, and red or black pepper.
Sometimes I add leftover grilled, roasted, or sautéed onions, mushrooms or bell peppers, or finely chopped cooked chicken, turkey, salmon, bacon, or sausage whether I’m making a scramble, an omelet, or a hybrid of the two. Note: When measuring out the desired amount of ostrich egg, whisk and or shake the jar well to evenly mix the contents before measuring.
If you’re cooking for more people, you can mix up a similar amount of ingredients for each person and cook the eggs in batches, or make a double or triple batch, then use a 10, 12, or 14 inch skillet.
1. Shake or mix the jar of raw ostrich egg, then pour out what you need for your meal figuring 1/4 cup of ostrich egg = roughly 1 chicken egg. Add the milk or cream, spices, herbs, and optional sea salt. Whisk or blend briefly to combine.
2. Heat the fat or oil in an 8- or 9-inch slope-sided skillet over medium heat (#5 on my electric range, which goes from 1 to 10) until hot but not smoking. Use a larger pan for a double or triple batch. Tilt the skillet to completely coat the bottom and sides or spread the fat with a heat-proof spatula.
3. For a scramble: Add the whisked egg to the hot skillet. As the eggs begin to set up, push the cooked portion aside with a wooden spoon or metal spatula and tilt pan to allow uncooked eggs run underneath. Break up curds as they form, until eggs are cooked through but still glossy and moist, about 4 minutes for aquarter to a third of an Emu eggg; allow slighlty more time for a full batch.
For an omelet: Pour egg mixture into skillet. As the eggs begin to set up, almost immediately, push cooked portion toward center with a metal spatula and tilt pan to allow uncooked portion run underneath. Repeat until eggs no longer run. Remove from heat when eggs are firm but still appear glossy and moist, about 3 to 4 minutes. Allow a little more time for a double or triple batch. Add fillings to one side of the omelet if desired. Gently lift and fold 1 side of the omelet over the other.
4. Remove from heat and transfer scrambled egg or omelet to serving plates.
* Smoky Scrambled Ostrich Egg with Chipotlé: Replace the white or black pepper with ground chipotlé, then add 3/4 to 1 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Hickory Smoke Seasoning. Note: This brand is free of sugars, colorings, MSG, and chemical names and numbers. Look for it in supermarkets and natural foods stores on the aisle with barbecue sauce.
* Smoky Scrambled Ostrich Egg with Tarragon & Chives: Omit mustard; replace the parsley with fresh or dried chives 1/2 teaspoon each of dried chives and tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons each of finely chopped fresh chives and tarragon leaves.
* Smoky Scrambled Ostrich Egg with Curry: Omit mustard and parsley, adding 1 teaspoon mild or spicy curry powder or to taste.
Source: Modified from The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert-Matesz & Don Matesz (Planetary Press, 2004)