Salted Eggs: Yes I am bored of the same three veggies at every supermarket, it is bollox.
A spontaneous shop for duck eggs is not the wow of conversation with friends or a regular find at supermarkets in Berlin. It is pretty much a scarce theme, compared to the gibber that flies around duck breast served on a dish. The two, the egg and the breast, are from the same bird, so I reckon that those eggs must be somewhere. An interesting question indeed. Some markets do sell them, for instance Türkischer and Helmholtzplatz Wochenende Märkte have them at luxurious prices, together with other egg “rarities” of our “modern” table. An unintentional sense of sarcasm has managed conquer the jolly side of my cooking creative logic. I will leave this question open and allow you to ponder about the choices made by our supermarket buyers, who do chose what goes into our diets, the same professionals for whom we tailor choices as we buy without asking questions.
Despite the (worthwhile) extra hunt for a dozen of duck eggs, you can make Salted Eggs with chicken eggs. Salted Eggs are mainly used as a flavouring in China, two of the more known dishes that you might have tried are moon cakes and sticky rice. Salted egg yolks, if I may, can be used creatively in other concoctions, for example together with savory cherry tomatoes in tart tatin, or thinly sliced over smoked salmon on toast with capers. This las example is just as good as fish roe, homemade and wildy cheaper. Salted eggs are glistening, delicious and contrary to first impressions, not salty at all.
12 duck eggs (or chicken eggs)
1 cup sea salt (or rock salt)
4 cups water
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
7-8 star anise
2 Tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 Large glass jar with a lid.
In a large pot bring the water, salt, star anise, and sichuan peppers to a boil, just until the salt is completely dissolved. Take the pot away from the heat and let cool down completely. Check the eggs to make sure that the shells are intact, no cracks whatsoever. These intact eggs are the ones you can use for the brining process. Wash the glass jar and lid thoroughly and place the eggs in the jar, one by one, carefully. Add the shaoxing wine to the brining cooled down water and pour it into the jar over the eggs. Depending on the size of the jar, the eggs on the top might float to the surface. If this does happen, place a folded cloth on top, so to keep the eggs gently pressed under the brining water surface, when the jar is closed. To keep track of time, label the jar with the start date. Place the closed jar with the eggs and brine in a cool dark place. A cupboard for instance. Brining time is approximately 30 to 40 days. On day 30, take on egg out, rinse it under cold running water and crack in into a dish. If the yolk has set to a beautiful deep translucent orange and the white is transparent and gelatinous your eggs are ready. They might require a couple more days. Test to see. Once the salted eggs are ready, take all of them out of the brine, rinse them under cold water, dry them and place them in an egg carton in the fridge for later use. Salted eggs will keep in the fridge for up to 5 weeks.