The Recipes: Ostrich Eggs
At just under 2 kg, a single Ostrich egg weighs about the same as a whole chicken and remarkably is the equivalent of 24 normal-sized chicken eggs. If you can obtain one, cook it and open it, then one Ostrich egg can feed up to 10 people.
A typical egg is 200 mm tall, with a circumference of c. 450 mm, provides 2,000 calories and 144 g of protein. The latter is three times an adult’s recommended daily protein allowance but Ostrich eggs also contain calcium, iron and vitamin A while being lower in cholesterol and saturated fat than chicken eggs. However, at 4 mm thick, the smooth, shiny shell is so tough that cracking an egg open takes more than the back of a spoon - much more!
From experience, we have actually soft-boiled an Ostrich egg in what might called a parody of an ancient Roman recipe for ‘soft eggs in a pine kernel sauce’ (Apicius, 7.13.3). The details behind that particular escapade, and the Apician recipe itself, can be found here. Suffice to say, soft-boiling an Ostrich egg took about 45 - 50 minutes on a rolling boil (in a large cauldron over an open fire).
When it comes to eating, ostrich eggs can be made into an omelette, fried, scrambled, poached, or hard boiled if you have a spare 90 minutes. Remember, however, that these eggs are big, so everything is super-sized. You will need large catering size pans to cook (and cool) the egg, and utensils robust enough to manage the egg’s weight. Even opening an Ostrich egg is a challenge needing either a hammer to (carefully) break in or a saw to cut through the shell. And for boiled eggs, you will need a large dish or bowl to double as an egg cup. So, with the various pitfalls in mind, what follows are some simple (relatively speaking) ways to cook Ostrich eggs.
One final note, in the UK the Ostrich laying season runs from April to August. At the time of writing, and obviously when in season, Waitrose & Co are selling ‘Clarence Court’ Ostrich eggs for £19.99 each. Bon appétit!