Q. My husband brought home an ostrich egg from the market because it “looked cool”, but without any idea what to do with it. What does it taste like and how should we cook it?
Asks Sam in Atlanta.
A. Surely the first thing you have to do is admit he was right, they do look pretty fantastic!
Surprisingly they don’t taste overly different than an egg from a chicken, slightly richer in flavour and tasting more substantial (for want of a better word), the white specifically has a stiffer texture than anything laid by a hen. The truth is though that the difference in taste between eggs largely comes from what the laying bird has been eating, which is why chicken eggs can vary in taste so much.
The biggest challenge with an ostrich egg isn’t actually how to cook it at all, but how to get into the thing in the first place. The shell is really quite thick and the entire thing is unwieldy and heavy. You certainly aren’t going to be able to crack it on a surface or the edge of a pan like you would with a chicken egg, no, no, no. A hammer is the order of the day here!
Once you get into the beast, you can cook it in the same way as you would any other egg. The only difficulty is the size, you would need a massive pan with litres and litres of boiling water to even think about poaching one, so that is pretty much out. Otherwise, scrambling or making an omelette is no problem as long as your pan is a decent size, and you can also fry them – the trick then is to get the temperature right, be careful not to burn the bottom before the egg cooks through.
Oh, and you could always boil it! It will take about 2 hours at a normal simmer to be hard boiled, and you will need to put it in cold water straight away afterwards so that all of the residual heat doesn’t overcook it.