Pheasant eggs you say. Where on earth did you find pheasant eggs? Actually we started out looking for banty eggs, which are tiny eggs laid from a Bantam chicken. Here in the mountains we buy organic eggs or in some areas what are called “yard eggs” from a local vendor. We were visiting with her one day about eggs and she mentioned that occasionally she gets tiny banty eggs and asked if we would like some. Of course we replied, save some for us the next time you have them. I was intrigued with using the tiny eggs in a recipe and we talked about ideas on the way home. As luck would have it, every time we asked about the banty eggs she said the chickens were molting right now and she didn’t have any. (If the word molting and the laying habits of hens when they lose their feathers are as new to you as they are to me, here’s more information.)
After that, we just put the idea of small eggs on the back burner until we were at our local farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago. My husband Meakin was visiting with a vendor who sells produce, eggs, and flowers and on a lark he asked if he happed to have any banty eggs. Much to our surprise he did, but apologetically said that he had only one. But, he added, he also had four pheasant eggs. Bingo, we finally found some tiny eggs.
As you can see by this picture, banty eggs (or bantam eggs as they are also called) are smaller than a large hen egg and pheasant eggs are even smaller than the banty.
The pheasant eggs are khaki-colored and quite pretty. Compared to a hen egg, pheasant eggs and banty eggs have a higher yolk-to-white ratio, thus producing a richer flavor.
If you would like to see what a pheasant looks like, here’s a link along with some tips on cooking their eggs.
This recipe is what I call a “small plate” meal. It also makes a lovely appetizer to pass on a tray at a party. If you can’t find pheasant or banty (bantam) eggs, quail eggs will work very well also.
If you do use tiny eggs, use them in a way that shows them off and puts them on center stage. They make a great conversation piece at get-togethers. But please promise me - no scrambled eggs. They are much too special to use as ordinary eggs.
I hope you enjoy this unusual and attractive treat. If you have used any kind of tiny eggs in recipes, please share your experiences with us.
Join me next time as we visit our Saturday Farmer’s Market that’s typical of a North Carolina mountain town to see what’s offered by local farmers and craftsmen of our region.
Pheasant Eggs on Sausage Toast
Adapted from The Tapas Cookbook – serves 6 as part of a tapas meal
12 slices French bread, cut on the diagonal, about ¼” thick, toasted
24 slices ready-to-eat smoked sausage or Spanish chorizo, cut into thin pieces on the diagonal to fit the toasts, and browned on both sides in a skillet
12 pheasant eggs (or banty or quail eggs)
Smoked sweet Spanish paprika, also called Pimention de la Vera (or substitute mild Hungarian paprika)
Crunchy sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Break the eggs into the skillet and cook, spooning the fat over the yolks, until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking sunny side up. Remove the cooked eggs from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Top each piece of toast with browned pieces of sausage. Immediately transfer the eggs to the sausage-topped toasts and dust with paprika. Sprinkle with crunchy salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Serve at once.
This recipe is being linked to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at The Tablescaper, Southern Sundays at Slice of Southern, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.
Have a great weekend everyone. And keep your eyes out for tiny eggs.