- 4 fresh duck eggs (or chicken eggs)
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
- 4 asparagus spears
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons chèvre cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 4 morels, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons finely chopped crimini mushrooms (see note)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 English cucumber (optional)
- Finely diced radish, for garnish
- Thyme sprigs, for garnish
Remove about a 1-inch circle at the top of the duck egg with an apparatus for the purpose, or serrate it using pin pricks and cut it away with a small sharp knife tip.
Remove raw eggs to a bowl and refrigerate. Place shells back in the egg carton. Carefully fill the shells with boiling water. Let sit for 2 minutes, then dump the water. Invert the shells in the carton and allow the shells to drain.
Combine crème fraîche with lemon juice and zest; season lightly with salt and pepper. Whip in an electric mixer until fluffy.
Cut 1 1/2-inch tips from asparagus and lightly blanch in boiling, salted water (this will be part of your garnish). Cut the tough ends from asparagus and thinly slice remaining tender stalks.
With a wire whip, beat eggs with half-and-half and chèvre cheese until light and frothy. In a sauté pan over low heat, melt butter and add 1/4 cup sliced asparagus, shallots, morels and thyme. Cook until morels are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs. With the wire whip, continue to rapidly stir the eggs so they stay creamy as they cook and don’t form into lumps. When they are still very soft, remove from the heat and season with a little salt and pepper.
Place each shell in an egg cup or cut an English cucumber into 4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) slices. With a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, carve a hollow just wide and deep enough to nest the egg shell. Fill egg shells with egg mixture. Pipe or spoon crème fraîche on top. Top each with an asparagus spear, a little diced radish and a thyme sprig.
If fresh morels are unavailable, use dried morels and rehydrate them for about 30 minutes in hot water. (Be sure to save the hydrating liquid for soup or risotto!)