While at the Marin farmers market this past weekend, I made friends with Jackie, an adorable farmer who sells eggs under the brand By Cracky It's Jackie's Farm Fresh Eggs. At the end of the market, a few stragglers stopped by her booth requesting chicken eggs. She responded, "Nope, sorry. The weather has been too hot for the chickens to lay eggs. But I have plenty of guinea fowl eggs. They're producing like crazy!" Most refused her offer and walked away disappointed.
While Jackie was gracious enough to give me a dozen guinea fowl eggs at the end of her farmers market run, I'll admit my initial response was not one of excitement: I'd recently encountered a slightly sulfuric-smelling batch of chicken eggs and hadn't quite recovered from the experience. I assumed the eggs from the guinea fowl, which sounded exotic and complicated, must have possessed an equally game taste to match.
"What should I do with them?" I asked Jackie uneasily. "Just cook them like chicken eggs. But remember, the shells are tougher than chicken eggs. So whack 'em to crack 'em, and I mean, really whack 'em," she replied. With that, I gathered my carton of eggs and got cracking. See what guinea fowl eggs look like inside when you read more.
At home, I opened the carton to reveal a dozen brown-spotted eggs that were slightly smaller than chicken eggs and with a pointier tip. I tapped the eggshell against the side of my bowl and felt the hard shell boing back with tough resistance. Nothing happened — not even a crack. On my second attempt, I really gave the egg a whack, and the egg cracked in the bowl, along with at least 10 shards of egg shell. By the third try, I was a pro, and swiftly cracked the eggs into the bowl.
The raw guinea fowl egg looks similar to chicken eggs, although the yolk-to-white ratio is slightly different. The milky yellow yolks are dense, and it seemed like there was more yolk than egg white. Craving fried eggs, I whipped out my miniskillet. As soon as the eggs hit the hot skillet, I noticed the whites firmed up quickly, a lot faster than chicken eggs. Everything was going beautifully, until I attempted to flip the eggs. As the eggs were mid-air, I knew it was going to be a messy landing. The yolks felt denser and heavier than chicken eggs when I flipped them, and in one devastating splash, both yolk pockets oozed a brilliant yellow across the bottom of the pan. To recover, I quickly grabbed my nearest whisk and beat the whites and yolk together, creating a makeshift pan scramble.
While not an emulsified scramble, the eggs were still moist and fluffy as I transferred them to a small bowl and topped them with a tiny pinch of bourbon-smoked sea salt. I took a huge breath followed by a hefty spoonful of scrambled guinea fowl egg. To my utter surprise, the eggs tasted like the stuff nature intended — custardy and creamy. There wasn't any hint of weird sulfuric or eggy flavor associated with store-bought eggs. Every few bites, I'd hit a crystal of the bourbon-smoked sea salt, which added a smoky saltiness to the eggs. Even though I wasn't hungry in the slightest, I scraped the bowl clean in a matter of minutes.
It's safe to say I can't wait to try guinea fowl eggs in all my recipes, particularly in cakes and cookies, which so often can end up tasting overwhelmingly egg-like. I think I'm a guinea fowl egg convert, and I can't wait to purchase another dozen from Jackie next week.