It’s one of those things you walk by at farmer’s markets many times then one day you actually stop and wonder how could I have missed out on this. It happened to me the other day when I finally came to a halt at a farmer’s market stand eyeing gigantic eggs. Looking at those jewels I was imaging how I’d crack the egg in a cast iron pan and then see it slowly cooking with its huge egg yolk in the middle imbedded with snow-like egg white. Maybe a few strips of crispy bacon next to it -- now THAT is a meal – I guess this is what people call a man’s breakfast?
(Todd the ostrich farmer)
That’s an egg
In conversation with Todd the friendly ostrich farmer I found out that ostrich grow up to nine feet so it is not surprising that the egg is sizable. Actually compared to the ostrich adult weight (320 pounds) the egg is small.
(ostrich egg compared to a hen egg)
Ostrich can run up to 45 mph when in danger.
Did you know? Ostrich don’t stick their heads into sand to hide – a myth.
What a good egg you are
Compared to an ordinary hen egg the ostrich egg scored high. Every egg I cracked had crystal clear egg white hugging the golden hued orange colored egg yolk. I was tempted to try it raw which I passed-on for now since there has been a lot about salmonella soiled hen eggs in the news recently. What stood out in the cooking was how light and fluffy ostrich egg dishes are compared to other animals’ eggs. An open-faced omelet (frittata) came out puffy and light as a pillow much airier when compared to chicken eggs. The texture reminded me of eating a soufflé dish in a fine French restaurant I had experienced in the past.
Skillet baked frittata
(recipe yields 6-8 portions = 1 ostrich egg)
1 sweet onion, cipollini onion preferably
1 red pepper
salt such as Baline to taste
cayenne to taste
fresh black pepper grindings to taste
½-cup vegetable oil such as canola
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, snipped with scissors (1/8-inch)
1. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Peel then cut onion (1/8-thick). Cut red pepper in half then discard seeds and stem and cut into strips (1/8-thick).
3. Crack egg into a bowl then season with salt, pepper and cayenne. With a fork mix egg by breaking the egg yolk. Traces of egg white should be still visible in the egg mixture (this will make a light and fluffy egg dish).
4. Heat vegetable oil in a pan (11-inch diameter, ovenproof handle) on medium heat setting then cook cut onions and pepper (8-10 minutes or until soft). Season vegetables with salt and pepper.
5. Combine egg mixture with cooked vegetables and cook (3-5 minutes) constantly mixing with a kitchen rubber spatula (this will cook the eggs faster compared to slowly baking it unmoved in the oven) then transfer pan into the hot oven and cook 15-20 minutes or egg is cooked in the middle of pan.
6. Sprinkle cooked eggs with snipped parley and serve in pan.
(egg cracking with the base of a knife)
Chef’s suggestion how to crack an ostrich egg
O Carefully rinse the ostrich egg with a little soapy water (ensures the outside of the egg is clean).
O Hold egg in one hand and knife with second. With base of knife (where the blade meets the knife handle) whack egg to break shell. Break away ostrich shell pieces with fingers large enough to poor egg into a bowl.
I’m in the process of building a new restaurant and my spouse and daughter are away at the weekend escape – so for now it’s a single household. That did not stop me from eating the sizeable ostrich egg. The daily raw egg leftover I poured into a tight lidded Tupperware-style container and stored it for the next day’s egg dish in the refrigerator.