Just the thought of eating a Black Egg scared me. I love my eggs – scrambled, boiled, poached, sunny side up, over easy or over medium or even deviled. I like them Benedict, Migas, burrito, omlette, Florentine and Ranchero. One thing that always scared me a bit was Black eggs, also known as century eggs, preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, thousand-year-old egg, or millennium eggs in Asia. Just the thought of eating something that has been buried in the ground so long as to look rotten goes against my instincts.
However few weeks ago, when a friend who’s culinary instincts I respect, told me she liked them I was surprised enough to give them a try. I was told that legend says that every one you eat seven years is added to your life. Even given that, just looking at the white, which has turned a translucent brown, and the yolk, which has turned a greenish black color was almost enough to stop me but I grabbed my chopsticks, closed my eyes and went for it. The “white” was a bit salty tasting and the yolk was almost the consistency of pudding with a slightly sulphurious /ammonia taste.
Black eggs are made by preserving eggs – duck, chicken or quail in a concoction of clay, ash, salt, calcium oxide, and rice hulls for several weeks up to several months, not centuries. The result is something certainly more flavorfully complex than hard boiled. It was still a bit bit of a challenge but I tried a second one and found I quite like them. I certianly like them more than pickled eggs but, if given a choice, I would rather go with poached fresh eggs with country ham on English muffins and covered with Hollandaise any day.