Paul Hong, of Triple J Farms, sells duck and goose eggs at the Palos Verdes and Torrance markets, among others.
Most of his customers actually eat them, he says.
Perusal of half a dozen Chinese cookbooks yielded these suggestions for preparing duck eggs. Craig Claiborne recommends simmering them for an hour, then cutting them into quarters, shell and all. For a more exotic-looking variation, try "tea eggs." Cook the duck eggs for 8 or 10 minutes until hard-boiled, carefully crack the shell without peeling it off, then simmer them in tea for an hour. The result: a dramatically spider-webbed, hard-boiled egg that makes it clear to all who see that these aren’t just any old egg.
For an even more exotic version, simmer the duck eggs in a solution of 8 cups water, one-half cup soy sauce, a tablespoon of honey, a piece of tangerine peel, a leek stalk, a couple of cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt for 2 hours.
For the truly intrepid, you can make your own "1,000-year-old" duck eggs--in just 100 days. Pack the raw eggs in a paste of tea, pine needle ash, charcoal ash and salt. The alkali in the ash turns the shell an amber color and gives the egg white a petrified look that accounts for the misnomer.
One other thing. Elizabeth Chong, in The Heritage of Chinese Cooking, warns: "Tradition dictates that whoever prepares the eggs must not gossip or the eggs will not mature properly."