Saturday, April 11, 2015

perfectly poached eggs

Guess what?  I don't know everything.  No, really, I don't.  It's shocking, I know.  All these years I thought the right way to poach an egg was to crack it into a saucepan of simmering water and just hope for the best.  I'd crack and egg into the pan and gradually the whites just kind of dissipated and I was left with a runny yolk surrounded by just a tiny bit of raggedy white. Meanwhile the water looked very cloudy, filled with bits of white that should have been around the yolk. They always tasted good, but they looked like a science project gone wrong.

This morning I had trouble trying to figure out what to have for breakfast.  Today was a rare day when I had absolutely nothing at all planned, and nothing I had to do.  I felt kind of lost, actually.  I searched through the usual blogs I read to see if anything popped out at me.  A couple things did, but of course I didn't have the ingredients. I then resigned myself to an egg omelet, or scrambled eggs, or.....I just couldn't decide.  Then it occurred to me I could make poached eggs; however, my poached eggs always looked so sad.  But then I remember the cookbook I got for Christmas and decided, what the hell?  I'll try it.

So, today I decided to try making poached eggs from a cookbook, How Cooking Works (I love this book!).  I don't always use cookbooks; I like to think I know how to cook and a cookbook is just for the really complicated things, or to find something different to cook.  Well, I've realized that while I do know how to cook in general, either by watching my mom or sisters cook; or watching the Food Network; or using cookbooks, the internet, and magazines; or just plain old trial and error, there are some basics that I haven't quite mastered.

I put the cookbook on the stove right next to me so I can carefully follow the directions - I tend to just read through it once and not follow as closely as I should.  I agonized a bit over the right pan to use, since the directions say to use a frying pan and fill it with about 2 to 3 inches of water.  Frying pans don't seem that deep, so I almost pulled out a saucepan, but then I decided to just use the frying pan and not over think it.  I filled it almost to the top with water.  Then it was time to add 1 TB of vinegar. This is one reason I've always resisted making poached eggs the correct way; I was always worried I'd taste the vinegar.  I opened the cabinet and realized, as usual, I didn't have any white vinegar.  I was determined to make these eggs, so I added some apple cider vinegar.  I figured if the vinegar could be detected, at least it would taste like apples.  I boiled the water, and then turned it down to simmer.  I then cracked an egg into a 1/2 cup measuring cup (that's what the recipe says to, which helps contain the white), brought the cup down into the water, and then slid the egg out of the cup into the water.  Guess what??  The white stayed in place!  It didn't start making a beeline for the sides of the pan like usual.  I did the same with the second egg.  I then started spooning the water over the tops of the eggs - you have to, otherwise the yolk won't cook on the top.  In about 5 minutes I had two perfectly poached eggs and the whites were intact.  I only lost a tiny piece of one white, which was negligible. I used a slotted spoon to fish them out and put them into a bowl.  You can put them on a paper towel first if you're worried about getting water on your plate, but I didn't.

They tasted great, the yolks were thick and runny, and the whites were firm, but tender.  I didn't taste any vinegar at all.  I will definitely be making more poached eggs!  And it's a perfect post-op breakfast:  fast, goes down easy, nice and warm, and lots of protein.

Here's how to poach an egg (summarized from How Cooking Works).  If you need a true step-by-step, go to The Kitchn; it's the same method.

Perfectly Poached Eggs

You'll need some eggs (fresher is better to avoid the whites running away from you in the pan), a frying pan, water, some white vinegar (or a mild vinegar if you don't have white), a 1/2 cup measuring cup or small bowl, a slotted spoon, and salt and pepper.


  1. Fill the frying pan with about 2 to 3 inches of water (about 3/4 full depending on your pan depth) with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the water simmer. You should see bubbles coming up to the surface, but it won't be a rolling boil.  
  2. Crack the egg into a small measuring cup or small bowl.
  3. Add 1 TB vinegar to the water.  This helps keep the white together.  It's optional, though.  If you're a pro at making poached eggs, you probably won't need to do this.
  4. Use the measuring cup to lower the egg into the water and then tip it out into the water. Make sure the water is at a bare simmer.
  5. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, spooning simmering water over the tops of the yolks.  If your pan is deeper, you probably won't need to do this.   Note:  As an alternative, you can cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let the eggs sit for 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon.  
  7. You can put the egg on some paper towel to drain if you want to, but it's optional. I'd say if you're going to put it on a sandwich or salad, drain it.  if it's just going in a bowl or on a plate, you can skip it.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

See?! The whites are staying just where they should.

Don't they look gorgeous?!

No comments:

Post a Comment