Goose Eggs and Truffles

Goose Eggs and Truffles

Last Saturday, while we waited for the balsamic vinegar tasting to begin, Maxence and I seized the opportunity to explore the covered part of the Marché d’Aligre, where the tasting took place. The stands (butchers, cheese stores, charcuteries, bakeries, produce stalls…) are more upscale there than in the open-air area, and the products tend to be pricier, but the displays are sure tempting.

We browsed around the alleys and bought a few things, excitedly composing the kind of picnic-style Sunday lunch we like so much : cold cuts, olives, dry sausages, tapenade or a spread of some sort, a generous selection of cheeses, as well as a nice salad and some good bread.

While at the cheese stand, Maxence exclaimed over a tray of really huge, stark white eggs. “Des oeufs d’oie“, explained the cheese lady. Goose eggs? Our eyes opened even wider (those city kids!), and a string of questions were subsequently asked : how why when where and what with? We decided to get two : this would round up our Sunday lunch nicely. Spotting the motorcycle helmets we carried, the cheese lady made sure the eggs were wrapped up cosily.

It also seemed like the perfect occasion to use the black truffles we had bought last summer while on vacation in the Périgord.

Back home that evening, Maxence opened the jar, which contained our wealth : three truffles. We breathed in their smell, so uniquely earthy, and put the open jar with the goose eggs in a container for the night, to help the eggs pick up a truffle flavor.

The next day, Maxence soft-boiled the eggs (eight minutes, as per the lady’s instructions), while I slivered one of the truffles thinly. When the eggs were cooked, we realized of course that our regular eggcups were too tiny, and Maxence was suddenly inspired to use espresso cups instead.

We buttered slices of toast, cut them in mouillettes (the lovely French word for the bread fingers you dip into an egg) and proceeded. The eggshell of goose eggs turned out to be much tougher than a chick’s egg, and my usual technique of tapping all around the top with a knife then flip it open just would. not. work. I had to sort of hammer it open, and uncovered the white, which was strikingly opalescent. Apart from those initial observations, the experience was very similar to eating regular eggs, in terms of taste and texture. But one should not overlook the definite pleasure to be found in the scale of those eggs, and the special Alice in Wonderland feeling you get.

We alternated spoonfuls of goose egg, bites of toast, and slivers of truffle. I am in no way a truffle specialist, but the egg/bread/truffle trio is definitely a great way to appreciate the different tastes, and I find it just beautiful in its simplicity.

  • This sounds so good. If only I had not smelled the truffles at the grocery store the other day.

    I bought some fresh garlic and saw the truffles in a special jar. I asked the lady wether those were really truffles since I had never seen any on sale here before. She said yes and asked if I wanted to smell them. Before she opened the jar she added that many people didn’t like the smell. She was so right. I have had truffle scented oil and even some truffle slices in a French restaurant but the smell coming out of that jar just wasn’t going to make me want any of the contents. It was just too heavy and those were probably not the best of truffles anyway.

    Too bad that the memory of that smell is going to impede on my feeling of luxuriousness when I eat something with truffles next time :-(

  • Meg

    How exciting! I have never been brave enough even to try quail’s eggs yet…maybe I should take the plunge and do some interesting eggs for an Easter starter on Sunday?

  • thanks for including all the little pop-up pictures…what beautiful huge eggs! i especially like seeing them in the espresso cups. :-)

  • Wendy

    So funny you should mention goose eggs right now — my “egg guy” at my local farmers’ market has them now, too, and I bought them just a week or so ago, as an experiment. Must be gosling time. My take on them was similar to yours; tasty and opalescent but not markedly different from a hen’s egg. I think I paid $2 per egg, too, which is a bit of a deterrent from too frequent consumption. We also had ours soft-boiled with toast (I guessed at the time, and would cook them 30 seconds less next time), but no truffles.

    My egg guy is an older African-American gentleman, who also sells sweet potato pies and, sometimes, chickens. The first time I bought one from him, I got a bit of a shock when I reached inside to take out the giblets, and found the bird’s feet in the body cavity. When I told him of my surprise, my egg guy seemed surprised that I found it unusual, and assured me that the feet are tasty. I haven’t yet made that confirmation for myself.

  • Yashima – The smell is definitely strange. I wouldn’t even call it particularly pleasant, but it’s very interesting and unique, probably an acquired taste. But maybe these were just bad! :)

    Meg – Oh yes, that’s an excellent idea, and quail eggs are so pretty!

    Melissa – Glad you liked all the pics!

    Wendy – I don’t remember how much these eggs cost, with all the cheese we bought at the same time!

    Oh, and I’ve had chicken feet at a dim-sum restaurant in Oakland, CA once : it was um… not my favorite thing. Mostly skin and cartilages!

  • Clotilde, tried the quail eggs at Easter and they were wonderful! I like the fact that they are bite-sized so you get the exactly right proportion of yolk to white in each bite. And they are awfully pretty…though not as *surreal* looking as your goose eggs!

  • Meg – Oh I’m so glad you tried and liked quail eggs! How did you cook and serve them?

  • Sorry, I didn’t notice you had replied! I boiled them about three minutes and served them with toasted sesame seed salt (which was really nice). I found the recipe on Epicurious:

  • Meg – Wow, the recipe sounds fantastic, what a sophisticated appetizer!

  • Sharon in Phoenix

    I am fortunate to have friends with geese and no imagination! They give me all their goose eggs! I use them in all recipes, substituting one goose egg for two chicken eggs. The yolks are stiffer than hen’s eggs, and require vigorous beating to blend them for scrambled eggs or cooking, but the are GREAT for baking because of the high fat content.

  • *sigh* Another post I have to reply to, two+ years later…

    If you ever visit New York you must go to Inoteca in the East Village. Their signature dish (also at the original tiny ‘Ino in the West Village) is Truffled Egg Toast. They hollow out a large chunk of a small grained white bread loaf (I would call it Pullman bread), toast that fairly hard, melt cheese onto it, then fill it with a just-cooked egg and drizzle the whole thing with truffle oil. It is served surrounded by cut-up roasted asparagus; heaven on a plate for just $7!

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