Eggs-actly what you want ...

Step outside the egg carton and try quail, duck eggs from local sources

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A friend who has quail brought me some eggs last weekend. She built a pen last summer and promptly installed quail chicks, who have grown. You can now can hear them hoot-hooing quietly when you sit in her backyard.

It was the first time I've had quail eggs, so I was excited. Duck eggs are a major favorite, and farm/backyard eggs are always better than store-bought. We cooked them that night, with runny yolks over a grain bowl with bulghur wheat, roasted vegetables and chopped herbs. I was surprised at how rich they tasted and at the difference in taste, in general. It's easy to just assume all eggs are alike.

Since then, I've been on the hunt for more delicious local eggs, and especially non-chicken ones. If you know where to find turkey eggs, which I didn't write about in this column because I've never had, please contact the features department of The Berkshire Eagle.

Because people's tastes are becoming more adventurous, your local grocery store might even have some of these. Most of the stores around here will, at least, have high-quality local eggs from within an hour radius, and any food co-op in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont will have eggs from local farms, as well as specialty items. Late winter farmers markets may have some duck eggs, too. I've lived here for many years, and can confirm they sometimes pop up at locally owned liquor stores, country stores, etc. And if you know someone ... ask.

Egg grain bowls

This is a no-recipe recipe. If you want to experience a runny-egg grain bowl, just make the grain of your choice — brown rice, farro, bulghur, quinoa, etc. — and then roast some vegetables at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Chop up some herbs — cilantro and mint are lovely together — and cook an egg to your liking. Fix your plate and use hot sauce or chili oil as a final garnish for a filling and very healthy dinner.

Not all eggs are created equal ...

Farm/local chicken eggs

Calories: 75

Protein: 6g

Fat: 5g

Everyone knows local eggs taste better. They generally have nicer, brighter yolks, a cleaner taste, a thicker shell, and a little more heft. The yolks can have lower cholesterol, depending on the chicken's diet; commercial farms often feed their chickens a nutritional feed mix, while local farms are usually letting their chickens graze.

Quail eggs

Calories: 14

Protein: 1.2g

Fat: 1g

Delicious, rich, and low in calories, quail eggs are about a third of the size of a chicken egg. Generally, a serving size is 3 to 4 eggs; this also works as a baking substitution rule. They're higher in cholesterol, with a higher yolk-to-albumin ratio, and are considered a delicacy in many cultures. They also have beautiful speckled shells!

Duck eggs

Calories: 87

Protein: 9g

Fat: 9.6g

Bigger than a chicken egg, with a larger and richer yolk, duck eggs are just right as a main protein. A bigger egg means a more satisfying meal. If you use them in baking, they'll make your cakes fluffier and richer thanks to the extra albumin and higher fat content.


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