Poached Wyvern Eggs
With special guest chef, Akmenos son of Bane
Welcome to Day 3 of your sneak peek at my special 5-Course Wild Magical Banquet menu!
So pleased to have you back in this, my restaurant of the mind, where you can share in my grand plans to one day put aside all this silly roaming of strange worlds and fighting of nefarious villains, and get down to the business of what really matters: discovering all the divine tastes of the many weird and wonderful magical beasts that roam our world. Because why would whatever mad deity who created our sphere of existence have put all these awful and beautiful things here if not for us to eat them? And so that, dear friends, is my next grand quest.
Read on, prospective dinner guest, read on!
Oh, dare I remind you again that Omnium Gatherum, fine purveyor and literature dark and twisted, is offering you, dear reader, a free copy of a certain tome, recounting my latest adventures, entitled Sons of the Curse, for the mere act of recreating my recipes yourself, and somehow painting them in invisible fragments of light on this infernal window. To learn more, click your clicking thing on this scrawl of letters.
Main Course: Side Dish
Poached Wyvern Eggs
I hope you’ll understand when I say that I really, really don’t have anything specifically against wyverns, as a species, on the whole. I understand there are animals out there that really do need rending claws and slashing teeth and paralysing poison just to stay alive, and I respect that. I have brothers who are quite similar. And yes, I’ve had some near-death encounters in which the wings of wyverns have cast a heavy shadow, but this has simply taught me resilience, and also given me a rather literal and graphic insight into the physiology of the wyvern, leaving me convinced that it would make for a most unappetizing menu item. The very colour of their blood…
Ahem, where were we? The flesh isn’t palatable (unless you’re a starving wolf) but the eggs are a different story. For a start, the wyvern is a large beast and as such lays eggs relative to its size, meaning one egg can feed a large family for breakfast. Or a whole adventuring party, so if you’re in that line of business, this might serve you as practical field advice as well. Never thought you’d be taking survival tips from old Akmenos, did you? Ha.
I’m told the eggs are easy enough to gather as the wyvern is a stupid beast that spends more time hunting than protecting its nest. The only issue is getting them back to market without the wyvern spotting you as it flies home, since horses are one of their favourite meals.
Once you have your egg on hand, you’ll need to make sure you have a really big pan, lots of room over the fire, and something either very sharp or very heavy to break that shell. And lots of friends around to help you eat it.
Wyvern Eggs (Regular chicken eggs will suffice, but the meal won’t be Wild or Magical as promised. Ostrich Eggs might be closer to the mark. Boa Constrictor even closer, but watch out for the contents!)
White Vinegar or Cider Vinegar
Loaves for toasting
In a really, really big pan (have you seen the size of those eggs?) bring a good amount of water to the boil. Ensure there’s enough room in the pan for all that egg so when you crack it open you won’t flood the kitchen and scald your hooves.
Add a lug of vinegar and a generous shake of salt.
This next part may take two people. Holding a wyvern egg in two hands is one thing, but holding half a wyvern egg in one hand is quite another, and the last thing you want is eggshell in your egg. Get your kitchen-hand to carefully crack the egg, using a heavy-bladed sword or axe. I recommend wearing chainmail gloves for this, just in case whoever is wielding the blade is somewhat less capable with a blade than they might need to be. Stop looking at me like that.
The egg should hit the boiling water and hold its shape as it starts to cook. Now watch it carefully until the white cooks through and the yolk just starts to turn from dark yellow to warm orange.
During this time you should have some loaves sliced in half, dusted with oil and parmesan and garlic, browning under the grill.
Getting the egg out and ready to serve is the next big challenge. Place your biggest metal colander in the sink, carry the pan to it, and tip the egg and water slowly into the colander, allowing the water to drain away and not breaking the egg yolk in the process. Slide the egg gently onto a big serving platter, and garnish with more grated parmesan and lots of cracked pepper.
Deliver to your eager guests with the toasted loaves, a very large knife and a pie-serving slice to share the egg around.
If, after sampling this fine meal, you find you have developed a liking for Wyvern egg, ask your local merchant to keep them in good supply. The more people who pick up a taste for it, the better it will be for all of us. What? You think I’m trying to encourage some sort of passive extermination of a whole species by culinary consumption, just because I was traumatised by the sight of a wyvern being beheaded in front of me? I deny such terrible accusations. But if you can ask your local market for a dozen eggs at a time, you won’t ever run short. Sheesh, I’ll even swing by and cook them for you…
Akmenos, son of Bane, used to be an imperial cook until a poorly publicised misunderstanding and a royal corpse have led him to a life of subterfuge, sleeping on couches, and an irritating lack of condiments. His efforts to clear his name, often leading him to engage in impromptu food-based diplomacy, have been documented for your degustation in Brothers of the Knife, Book 1 of the Children of Bane series, and Book 2, Sons of the Curse. As soon as he’s able, he’d just like to get back to pottering in the kitchen, smoking his pipe (if only he could find it), and drinking tea.
Dan Rabarts vehemently denies that this recipe may have been originally posted on his cooking blog, Freshly Ground, several years ago, and that Akmenos has plagiarised his work for his own gain.
If you’re wondering where Akmenos’ aversion to wyverns comes from, read on below for an excerpt from Brothers of the Knife:
A glance, a nod, and she was moving so fast he barely saw her. She jumped, a heroic leap by any standard, and landed, poised on the wyvern’s long, snaking neck. Her twin blades slashed out, one forward, one back, and the beast was falling, its rider clutching at a spreading blossom of dark blood on its chest. Scimitar leapt backwards, spinning in mid-air to land squarely in the centre of the plinth. “Take my hand,” she said, reaching for him with her still-bloody palm.
Akmenos stood in shock, contemplating the falling monster and its rider. Until just a moment ago Scimitar had moved like a dervish in the battle, but her final manoeuvre left Akmenos with the impression she’d been merely sparring with the monsters, holding them off until Akmenos could reach her. She snapped him from his reverie by squeezing his bloody hand. He squeaked a little.
“Do you still trust me?” she asked.
He met her look, seeing in his mind’s eye the wyvern’s scaly neck parting like soft cheese, spilling black wine. “Yes,” he said, a strange echo behind his words. But introspection would come later. The wyrmken had tried to kill him. Scimitar wanted to protect him. “Yes, I do.”
Brothers of the Knife, Chapter 7 – Book 1 of the Children of Bane, by Dan Rabarts (Omnium Gatherum, 2019)