The eggs of the black-headed gull are regarded as a fine delicacy, and can be found on posh restaurant menus in the UK late spring time. These rare eggs are only available during a short period (approximately 3-4 weeks), beginning in early May.
Gulls’ eggs are collected in the wild by licensed pickers from secret sites located across the UK. They are a fascinating ingredient and Country Life magazine has published an interesting article on the delicacy, if you would like to learn more.
I bought ours from the online grocer Fine Food Specialist who delivered the eggs via post, carefully wrapped, and boxed within two days of ordering. In size they are halfway between a quail’s egg and a hen’s egg. Their thin delicate shells are an attractive green colour, with dark brown speckles, that require careful handling.
To accompany the eggs, I blanched some fresh English asparagus and then wrapped the spears in prosciutto before placing in a warm oven with a little olive oil.
On some menus gulls’ eggs are served poached, however we decided to go down the easier and more popular route of serving them soft-boiled. I cooked the eggs by carefully lowering them into gently boiling water for 3 minutes. As they boiled, they emitted a slightly marine, fishy aroma.
The eggs were too small for our regular egg cups, and so I improvised by gently placing them in shot glasses.
Once opened, I sprinkled the eggs with a little celery salt on top which is a traditional accompaniment to this dish.
The dark saffron coloured yolks tasted deliciously rich (perhaps richer than a duck’s egg), and the whites were smooth and creamy. The marine aroma on the outside of the shells had not permeated the egg, and in flavour there were not fishy at all.
We both thought the gulls’ eggs were a delight, and look forward to enjoying them again next year when back in season again. If you see gulls’ eggs on a menu during May, I would certainly recommend ordering them otherwise you might have to wait another year before the opportunity arises again.Find Flavour Seeker on social media: