In the culinary world, pigeon eggs are valued as an exquisite delicacy. But in everyday life, few dare to try such an exotic dish, and some even consider eggs of sizars to be inedible. However, such assumptions among gourmets cause only laughter. They know exactly how tasty and healthy this product, which appeared in the human diet thousands of years ago.
How to recognize
It is believed that people first tasted the taste of pigeon eggs immediately after the domestication of these birds. And it happened, according to historians, in Persia. Pigeon eggs are small: they rarely weigh more than 17-27 g. Their standard shape is an asymmetrical ellipse, with one end sharper than the other. Usually the eggs of these birds do not exceed 4 cm in length. The color of the shell is predominantly white with a pearly sheen, although there are yellow, cream and even brownish specimens. But it is worth saying that their shell is extremely fragile and requires careful handling. This feature played an important role in the fact that the product is rarely used for commercial purposes.
Pigeon eggs are not only a delicious delicacy, but also a very healthy product with a rich chemical composition.
The yolk is particularly rich in nutrients. It consists of approximately 56% water, and its dry portion is proteins (approximately 12.5%), fats (approximately 30%), carbohydrates (almost 1.5%). Approximately one percent of the total chemical composition of the yolk is various inorganic substances, including rich reserves of iron. Protein is the more watery part of the product: it contains almost 90% water, the rest is nutritional components. But the shell almost entirely consists of salts of phosphorus and carbonate of calcium.
This delicacy contains a large amount of high quality protein: approximately 14 g per 100 g of the product. Pigeon eggs are a good source of iron, calcium, vitamins A, B2, D, E and other nutrients. And the older the product, the more sulfur it contains.
Pigeon eggs belong to the dietary easily digestible food. Their calorie content is about 115 kcal per 100 g. However, the chemical composition of specimens obtained from different breeds of pigeons may vary slightly, although the color of the shell does not affect the nutritional value of the product.
How to get a delicacy
Pigeon eggs can be obtained in two ways: buy or collect from domestic pigeons. The first way, frankly, is not as simple as it might seem. The eggs of these birds are a rare commodity, and not cheap. But the owners of even a small flock of Sisars were much more fortunate. But let's just say, even they will not be able to taste diet omelettes every week.
The fact is that pigeons lay "offspring" usually twice a year - after mating. Although there are exceptions when five clutches occur in 12 months. Besides, you will never find more than two eggs in a dove's nest. Their bird lays for 7-9 days after mating. Ornithologists even calculated the exact hours when this process takes place - between 15 and 19 hours, while the interval between the "birth" of the first and second is about 45 hours.
And now the main information for the "hunters" for pigeon eggs. The dove finally sits on the nest only when there are already a couple of “kids” in it (although there are exceptions). Up to this point, the first egg is taken. But ornithologists warn: in no case should you take two doves at once, after this it may stop producing offspring altogether.
How to store the product
Pigeon eggs are a product that spoils rather quickly.
It is best to consume them on the day of collection. If this is not possible, then it is important to store the delicacy exclusively in the refrigerator, no longer than 6 days. However, one cannot fail to say that the refrigerator door is not the best location for storing a pigeon product. Only those specimens that will become a dish no later than in 2-3 days can be placed on it. The remaining stocks are recommended to be stored in the coolest part of the refrigerator. In addition, if you plan to keep the eggs for more than a week, it is advisable to carefully wrap each of them in paper and turn them every few days. This technique will prevent the yolk from sticking to the shell.
Pigeon eggs are good for everyone, but especially the elderly, children and pregnant women.
In Asian countries, where this product is safely consumed, it is called "animal ginseng".
This delicacy is known to improve the activity of skin cells, make it elastic, activate blood circulation and affect hemoglobin levels (because it is a good source of iron), maintain a healthy complexion.
Pigeon product is very useful for people with anemia and women with menstrual irregularities. In Chinese medicine, the delicacy is considered a product that protects the kidneys and removes toxins from the body. In the European tradition, pigeon eggs, due to their rich chemical composition, are used by people with poor eyesight, bone diseases, damaged mucous membranes, as well as women during lactation. It is enough to eat a couple of these miniature eggs a day to get the necessary norms of sulfur and vitamin A. The vitamin E contained in the product will protect the heart and blood vessels, and prevent the formation of blood clots.
And one more interesting fact about this delicacy.
In the East, they believe that this product supplies the human body with qi energy (vital energy), which means it prolongs life.
Use in cooking
Cesar eggs are slightly larger than quail but significantly smaller than chicken ]. In recipes, one medium chicken, as a rule, corresponds to 2-3 pigeons. They also taste almost identical. When cooked (namely, this is the method usually used for cooking), their protein does not become completely white, but remains translucent: even through the finished protein, the yolk of a pigeon egg is visible.
This delicacy is appreciated by culinary experts in many countries, although even in gourmet restaurants, dishes from it are very expensive and appear very rarely (in many only by pre-order). Most often found in Chinese and French cuisines, where the pigeon product is a component of salads, soups, gourmet snacks. And to make pastries more airy, some confectioners replace chicken eggs with pigeons. In English cuisine, soufflés, jelly and some cocktails are prepared on the basis of this product. Since ancient times, the peoples of Transcaucasia have used eggs of sizars, and in the Baltic states they are usually combined with fish, vegetables and a variety of hot dishes. At one time, they did not refuse pigeon eggs in Russia either.
What to cook
In almost any recipe, chicken eggs can be replaced with pigeon eggs - this will give the finished dish a new exquisite taste.
And here are a couple of traditional Chinese recipes that use exclusively pigeon product.
For cooking, you will need pre-boiled and peeled pigeon eggs. Make several punctures in them (with a knife or a toothpick) and dip in a marinade of dry wine (10 g), salt (3 g), ginger (10 g) and onion for 30 minutes (10 g). Then dip the marinated delicacy in a mixture of flour and starch, then dip in beaten chicken proteins and fry in a large amount of hot vegetable oil. Serve garnished with greens.
Pigeon eggs boiled, peeled and fried in hot oil until golden brown. Meanwhile, boil thin slices of bamboo sprouts and xianggu mushrooms in boiling water, then transfer the ingredients to the pan. Add some chicken broth, soy sauce and rice vodka. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add starch, previously diluted in cold water, as well as a mixture of star anise, ginger, pepper and onion, fried in very hot oil. Pour pigeon eggs with ready-made sauce with mushrooms and bamboo. Serve hot.
People often wonder if pigeon eggs are edible. In fact, the eggs of any birds are essentially the same. They may vary in size, shape, taste, texture and color, but they are all edible, including pigeons, ostriches, quails, partridges, guinea fowls, peacocks, turkeys, ducks and most other birds. And people have been eating pigeons for more than a thousand years. And even today this product in many cultures remains the main gourmet delicacy.