Duck eggs are very popular at PCC, and there's a reason for that. In addition to the fact that they are slightly larger, (so you can eat just one and be happy!) their yolks have a deep golden color and their taste is rich and elegant. (They make the best homemade ice cream!) The shells of duck eggs are equally intriguing. I have rarely seen 2 look the same. They come in varying shades ranging from deep mottled ivory to pale glowing green, and make beautiful naturally dyed Easter eggs.
4 fresh duck eggs (or you may definitely use chicken eggs for this dish)
1/4 cup crème fraiche
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
4 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons half and half
2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
4 morels, finely chopped (see note) or use 2 tablespoons of finely chopped crimini mushroom
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Finely diced radish for garnish
Thyme sprigs for garnish
For the shells:
Remove about a 1 inch circle at the top of the duck egg with an apparatus for the purpose, or you may serrate it using pin pricks and cut it away with a small sharp knife tip.
Remove the raw eggs to a bowl and refrigerate. Place the shells back in the egg carton. Carefully fill the shells with boiling water. Let sit for 2 minutes, then dump the water, invert the shells in the carton and allow the shells to drain.
Combine the crème fraiche with the lemon juice and zest. Season lightly with salt and pepper and whip in an electric mixer until fluffy.
Cut 1-1/2 inch tips from the asparagus and lightly blanche them in boiling, salted water. This will be part of your garnish. Cut the tough ends from the asparagus and thinly slice the remaining tender stalks.
With a wire whip, beat the eggs with the half and half and goat cheese until light and frothy. In a sauté pan over low heat, melt the butter and add 1/4 cup of the sliced asparagus, the morels and thyme. Cook until the morels are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs. With the wire whip, continue to rapidly stir the eggs so they stay creamy as they cook and don't form into lumps. When they are still very soft, remove from the heat and season with a little salt and pepper.
Place each shell in an egg cup. Or try this pretty method: Cut an English cucumber into 1-1/2 inch thick slices (You'll need 4.) With a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, carve a hollow just wide and deep enough to nest the egg shell. Fill the egg shells with the egg mixture. Pipe or spoon the crème fraiche on top. Top each with an asparagus spear, a little diced radish and a thyme sprig.