A few weeks ago, I asked for some ideas to prepare an ostrich egg I received as a gift. Thanks to all for taking the time to provide inputs, I really appreciate it.
There are a few challenges to cooking ostrich egg. Firstly, you got to open the damn thing without doing too much damage to the shell. Kept whole the shell is pretty, and we wanted to give it to a friend as a present. I used two drill points to drill a hole on either side. I used a 5mm drill point to make a small hole at the top, and a 12mm at the bottom. Then I used a chop stick to break the membrane at the bottom and stir the egg. Cloey, our guest of honor, had to blow into the small hole, and voilà, the egg emerged at the other end through the larger hole.
Second, in order to get the egg out of the shell through a very small hole, you have break the membrane and scramble the egg inside the shell first. Thus, there is no way you could use recipes calling for the separation of yoke and white. This also presents problems when measuring volumes. No easy way to measure out “six large eggs” or “three whole eggs and two yokes” when all you have is a bowl full of scrambled egg. To get an idea of volume, I measured the volume of one large chicken egg at the start, and used that as base measure.
Third, they say that an ostrich egg is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs. I am not sure that this is entirely accurate (to me it looked a little less), but it is still a huge amount of egg that has to be cooked in one session, so you need additional eaters. Make sure you invite friends who like egg.
Finally, ostrich egg is quite rich in flavor, much more so than store-bought battery eggs that most people are used to. Some people might not like egg that tastes like egg. So you got to incorporate additional flavors to cut through the strong egg flavors. Fortunately, I prepared three different types of gravlax just days before, and since egg and salmon goes well together we decided to build the breakfast around that.
Our menu consisted of the following: fruit salad with home made vanilla yogurt for clean, fresh flavors and to serve as a bit of a palate cleanser; oven-baked ostrich egg frittata with sundried tomatoes, parsley and button mushrooms; scrambled ostrich egg with three types of gravlax on toast with wasabi cream on the side.
We were eight people, thus the equivalent of three chicken eggs per person, volume wise. This I think is just about the right amount for everyone.
I divided the ostrich into two batches: one to make the frittata, and one for the scrambled eggs. I used no directions or recipes, just gut feel and a lot of tasting. Flying-by-cook’s-radar so to speak.
To make the oven-baked frittata, fry some mushrooms of your choice in a bit of butter and olive oil for a few minutes to enhance their flavor. Chop some flat leaf parsley and sundried tomatoes. Add a little milk to the ostrich egg (not too much for the ostrich egg is rich). Whisk for about two minutes to incorporate some air. Add the sundried
tomatoes, parsley and mushrooms to the egg mixture and season with salt and black pepper. With a soup ladle, transfer equal portions (one for each of your guests) to a non-stick muffin pan and put in an oven that is preheated to 180℃. Cook till just done (it should be firm but not rubbery). The air incorporated by whisking will cause the frittata to rise somewhat and add lightness to the finished product, leaving you with a puffed-out muffin-looking frittata.
For the scrambled egg, make and season them your favorite way, but please do not over-cook the egg. It should be very soft and creamy. Toast some slices of baguette and top each with a spoonful of scrambled egg and a generous slice of gravlax. Add some chopped chives, wasabi or dill cream, and some salmon roe, or caviar for those delightful little explosions of flavor.
I really enjoyed this breakfast for there was enough to do for everyone to chip in. A true communal kitchen effort that is so rare these days. There is a bit of wow factor around the opening of an ostrich egg, and for all the guests it was the first time eating it. That made me happy. In the end it was great celebration of one of Africa’s most unique creatures, and a great way to say goodbye to Cloey before her European holiday.