Home > Ramblings > Deviled ostrich egg

Deviled ostrich egg

May 22nd, 2018

Five years ago, my efforts to hard boil an ostrich egg ended in undercooked disappointment. This year, I set out to correct that failure — and then some.

An ostrich egg is similar to a common chicken egg in many ways: there is a yolk; there is a white; and there is a shell composed mostly of calcium carbonate. The main difference is that it’s about two dozen times bigger. That size difference makes for appealing pageantry among the foodie set, of which I am an occasional interloper.

In 2013, I acquired a fresh ostrich egg over the internet, gathered a handful of friends one evening, and tried to hard boil the egg. Expectations were high as I sliced through the shell with a Dremel, but then: disaster. Beyond a thin outer layer of cooked egg white, we found little more than a sad, gloopy mess. The yolk wasn’t the least bit set. Lesson learned: an hour on the boil isn’t even close to enough time to hard boil an ostrich egg.

This year, I decided to try again. I resolved to taste naught but sweet success. Or savory success. Or whatever ostrich egg tastes like.

I ordered two fresh unfertilized ostrich eggs from Floeck’s in New Mexico. A couple days later, they arrived wrapped in layers of bubble wrap and really cute baby diapers. Even though they didn’t really require refrigeration — we refrigerate chicken eggs in America primarily because their natural protective coatings are usually stripped during processing — I stuck them in the fridge.

The two ostrich eggs in my refrigerator

The two ostrich eggs in my refrigerator

Why two eggs? It’s not like one would have been insufficient, as they each had a mass of about 1.5 kg. Instead, I got two so that this time I’d have a “practice” egg. If I screwed that one up, perhaps by once again under-cooking it, I’d be able to recover with the second one.

The practice egg went into a pot of boiling water the night before I was going to have some friends over for brunch. After two hours on the boil, I removed the egg, gave it a spin, stopped the spin, and then let go again: the egg remained stationary. Had the egg resumed spinning, that would have indicated that liquid was still present inside, and so I would have cooked it some more. Instead, I plunged it into a cold ice bath while I got my hacksaw from the garage.

In a process that was repeated the next morning with the second egg, I sawed slowly around the circumference and chased the cut with a sharp knife to pierce the tough membrane that lined the interior of the shell. Then, slowly, I pulled off each end of the shell. A translucent white egg, gelatinous in appearance but firm in texture, was revealed.

Cutting a hard-boiled ostrich egg with a hacksaw (Photo credit: Dave)

Cutting a hard-boiled ostrich egg with a hacksaw (Photo credit: Dave)

Another cut was made, this one orthogonal to the saw line, splitting the egg into the two halves that are traditional for deviling.

Two halves of a hard-boiled ostrich egg (Photo credit: Dave)

Two halves of a hard-boiled ostrich egg (Photo credit: Dave)

From there, the deviling process was about the same as one would do if one were deviling chicken eggs: scoop out the yolk, mash in some mayo, brown mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (dried), and Cholula (partially because of its acidity); put the mix into a piping bag; pipe back into the now-empty whites; and garnish with chives and paprika. For extra effect, I plated the eggs on beds of spinach leaves, which had the added benefit of keeping the eggs from sliding around.

My brunch guests and I agreed: ostrich egg tastes like chicken egg, perhaps ever so slightly “lighter”. And a deviled one? Heavenly.

  1. Travis
    May 23rd, 2018 at 08:59 | #1

    Looks yummy! Did you consider using a sous vide cooker? It would have taken _much_ longer, but I imagine would have guaranteed a perfectly hard boiled egg.

  2. keacher
    May 30th, 2018 at 23:18 | #2

    Hmm, can’t say I did. You’re probably right though. Maybe next time!

Comments are closed.