We do odd things once in a while. Friend E brought back duck eggs from Thailand recently. Singapore usually does not have fresh duck eggs; most duck eggs available in Singapore are salted duck eggs which we often use as a salty bump of flavoring in vegetable dishes. Duck eggs have a more-ish, gamier flavor than regular chicken eggs. In the long past, hawkers used to fry noodle dishes like Char Kuay Teow (a type of fried flat rice noodle) or Hokkien prawn Mee with duck eggs because the duck eggs used to lend a richer flavor. But these days you can’t get fresh duck eggs in Singapore because apparently no one (meaning Malaysian farmers) has even applied to import duck eggs to Singapore as duck farming is too expensive.
So traveling around the region we’ve actually picked up duck eggs in wet markets. It’s not easy to find duck eggs in general, so finding some is like discovering treasure. We used to be rather conflicted about carrying the duck eggs back by plane – are eggs considered liquids to carry on board in hand luggage or would one risk breakage by putting the eggs in check in luggage? Interestingly eggs are not considered liquids as long as they are carried whole in their shells. So dear hubs has hilariously been seen carrying a whole tray of eggs through customs. It works.
Anyway with friend E’s kind gift of eggs it was fun planning what to do with them. I did ask the question on Facebook and got a range of strange answers…like making salted duck eggs…I mean salted duck eggs are dime a dozen in Singapore. Why would I want to make salted duck eggs from my precious stash of fresh duck eggs? Anyway the first couple I used in an omelette cut into strips to top a fried cauliflower rice dish. Which was not bad but somehow didn’t show case the eggs enough. In the past I had made coddled eggs or eggs en cocotte which are lovely but I thought it would be rather repetitive and I wanted to make something different. So the idea came to bake the eggs in a nest of spiralized zucchini, and to add a secret flavor bomb below the egg to complement the creamy, moreish flavor of the egg. The secret flavor bomb was actually yogurt mixed in with Parmesan cheese and some smoked harissa. This gave the baked egg a kind of unexpected spicy punch.
The family was definitely intrigued by the baked egg in zucchini nests. These formed a nice little appetizer for our usual Sunday dinner, but could also be a light lunch entree with a side salad. of course in the absence of duck eggs I would do this again with chicken eggs as I think it’s a really pretty dish for company.
Baked Eggs in Zucchini Nests
- 6 duck (or chicken) eggs
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 medium tomato
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tsp smoked harissa paste
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Spiralize the zucchini, then season with the salt and pepper.
- Arrange the spiralized zucchini in shallow ramekins with a well in the center. Place the ramekins on a tray and bake for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the yogurt, harissa paste and Parmesan cheese togetber. Set aside.
- Deseed the tomato and cut the tomato into 1 cm dice.
- Remove the ramekins from the oven. Divide the yogurt mixture (about 1 tbsp each) into the well of the zucchini nests.
- Carefully crack a duck egg into the center of each well. Top the zucchini rims with the diced tomato. Return the ramekins back to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes (baking time will be less for chicken eggs). Serve hot.