These Individual Baked Duck Eggs with Quinoa are quick and healthy, and best of all, they can be either a delicious main or as an addition for any brunch! The recipe scales well so that you can even feed a crowd by simply doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the ingredients!
Duck eggs are a bit of a novelty for me. I've seen them on menus before, but this was the first time I actually cooked with them. I knew they would be bigger than normal chicken eggs, but there were quite a few bits about baked duck eggs that I didn't expect.
First, the yolk inside is comically big compared to the whites, kind of like how clown shoes are always too big for the clown or puppy paws are sometimes just too big for the puppies they belong to. To make the yolk even more shocking, lucky me, I got one duck egg with a double yolk inside!
Second, the yolks in duck eggs are a much lighter yellow color than normal hen eggs. If you can close your eyes and imagine the yellow crayon you'd pick up to draw Mr. Sunshine, that's the color of a duck egg yolk. There's almost no orange-ness to the yolk at all, making this a very spring-colored dish.
Third, duck egg shells are much tougher to crack than regular hen eggs. The first time I cracked a duck egg, I actually accidentally broke open the yolk too because I had to repeatedly hit the egg against my worktop to get a crack deep enough to split open the shell. Or maybe I broke it when my thumb went into the shell as I was trying to pry it open.
And lastly, there are a few subtleties in the taste of duck eggs compared to regular hen eggs. Duck eggs are a bit heartier - besides being bigger, the texture of the whites were a bit stiffer, and the runny yolk ran thick and viscous. We each only had one baked duck egg in our cocottes for brunch, and were full at the end of it. My husband never seems to be full after just one chicken egg on anything...maybe I should've been using duck eggs this entire time!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil - plus extra for oiling the cocottes
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 2 large handfuls spinach
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used a mix of white, red and black quinoa)
- 2 duck eggs
- 2 tablespoons mixed nuts and seeds (I used a mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)
- salt and pepper - to taste
- fresh parsley - chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. Lightly oil 2 cocottes or ramekins.
- In a small skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil. Add in the garlic and onion, and sauté until the onions are translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. Add in the spinach and sauté until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the cooked quinoa, and the nuts and seeds mixture.
- Evenly divide the quinoa mixture between the two cocottes. Crack one duck egg in each cocotte. Cover (either with the cocotte covers, or with aluminum foil), and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking.
- Garnish with parsley, and serve with salt and pepper.