In Columbus, the best place to get an ostrich egg is at the North Market. It’s been a very long time since I’ve bought one, but I think North Market Poultry and Game is the place to get one now.
There are places like this all over – if you google it, I’m sure you can figure out how to get ahold of an ostrich egg.
They’re seasonal, though. I know this because back when Ellen was about three, I got it into my head that a funny thing to do would be to convince her of a completely ridiculous Christmas Eve tradition. For example, I thought, we could hard boil and Easter egg-style decorate a single, gigantic egg, then later carve it up like a turkey.
It would be hilarious, I thought. She’d have that image burned into her psyche forever, as clearly as Rudolph and Frosty and milk and cookies. Later on, she’d find out that no one else had a giant egg roast tradition, and no doubt she would delight in our hilarity.
I explained this to Marilyn while she was sleeping or while she was reading or while the air conditioning was out or whatever – some time when she just didn’t feel like arguing.
Giant, weird Christmas Eve Easter Egg sliced up like a roast – good idea, Tommy C.
But it turned out that when I went to North Market, to the counter where I had been lurking around eyeballing the ostrich eggs a few months back, when we were here to buy fish, there were no ostrich eggs.
The guys behind the counter were like the guys on Pawn Stars when they think something’s stolen, arms kind of flared out, squinting at me. What did I want, an ostrich egg? What for?
For Christmas, I told them, and they said that ostriches do not lay eggs in the cold weather. They looked at me like I was weird and possibly dangerous for not knowing that. I backed out of the joint.
I’m sure you could use interweb technology to get an ostrich egg shipped to you out of season, or maybe you could consult your butcher or whatever. I didn’t have that kind of technology ten years ago. I think I instead bought some sea bass and some kind of little bird that was still shaped like a little bird. Pheasants, maybe? Tasty little birds.
However you get a hold of an ostrich egg, I will tell you a funny thing to do with it. All you need is a big kettle of boiling water, and a friend or spouse who knows how to make deviled eggs.
I know because I stalked around all winter, stewing about not getting an ostrich egg. A bunch of high-brow, ostrich bullshit if you asked me – these ostriches had ruined Christmas. I wanted to get my ostrich egg and I wanted to cook it and then eat it.
So the following spring, my daughter’s super awesome preschool Briar Rose had a potluck picnic, and I thought that a plate of deviled eggs would be a reasonable thing to bring, so why not a deviled egg the size of a plate?
Two plates, really. You have to boil an ostrich egg – which is about the size of a coconut – for about an hour and a half. The shell is about an eighth of an inch thick, so you have to be pretty serious about getting the thing cracked open, and the weight of the egg makes it a little more floppy.
Yes, floppy is the right word. It’s still egg-shaped when the shell is off, but the white is a more silvery, translucent tone, and it’s like a beached whale. The shape has a hard time maintaining its integrity without the shell.
You want it to stay egg-shaped, so be very careful with it as you remove the shell, so right when the shell is off, you want to slice it in half and then lay the pieces flat, or even each half in a bowl matching its size. Then use a spoon to carefully remove the yolk.
The most common question I get right now, oddly, is whether or not there is an ostrich in the ostrich eggs. There is not. The eggs are not fertilized, like chicken eggs are not fertilized.
At that point, the recipe is identical to your normal deviled egg recipe, or your mom’s, or whatever. Mayonnaise, salt, pepper, paprika, and a ostrich egg yolk instead of normal egg yolk.
We arranged the halves on a single tray, and then brought it to the potluck and cut them up like pizzas. Everybody tried it – not much different from a regular deviled egg once you put it in your mouth and chew it. Maybe a little more chickeny.
That’s correct – ostrich eggs taste a little more like chicken than regular chicken eggs. Photographs welcome.