Saturday, November 26, 2011

Poached Eggs

When my husband arrived in my life, I was surprised to find how much he loved poached eggs. We would go out for breakfast and he’d order Eggs Benedict with beautiful poached eggs enveloped in delicious hollandaise sauce.

At the time I was travelling a lot with work. One morning I found myself dining in a hotel that had the chef standing in the dining room at a table ready to cook eggs for me on the spot, exactly how I liked them. I noticed he had a pot of water gently simmering over a hot plate – clearly for poaching eggs. I asked him if he could show me how it’s done.

The chef told me the first and most important tip was to have very fresh eggs. He said eggs more than three days old just weren’t good enough for the job. Second, he said you needed to add a goodly amount of vinegar to the water. And finally, he said you needed to simmer the water just so. No rolling boil!

I went home a tried to cook poached eggs for my husband. The farm fresh eggs were not available at my supermarket – lets face it, we just don’t know how old the eggs we buy from the supermarket are. The vinegar part was no problem. Getting the water to simmer wasn’t too hard either. At the time I was using an electric stove, and I was very used to its personality quirks. I couldn’t, however, produce that beautiful teardrop shaped egg the chef produced without swirling the water. No big deal! It’s the end result that matters, right?

1 deep pot
2 tblsp white vinegar
1 very fresh egg
1 slotted spoon
1 digital timer (use your iPhone if you have one)

1. Pour the vinegar into the pot. Fill with water until it is about one inch from the top of the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer. This means the water steams and you can see lots of little bubbles on the bottom of the pot. But there are no big rolling bubbles.
2. Swirl the water quickly in a clockwise direction until you have a little bit of a whirlpool going.
3. Crack the egg on the side of the pot and carefully drop it into the swirling water. Put the egg shell in the bin, rinse any egg off your fingers and dry your hands. THEN start the timer.
4. Gently push the water with the slotted spoon to keep it circling, making sure your egg does not attach to the bottom. At this point it should be nicely formed and starting to float.
5. Continue to poach for three and a half minutes. Gently scoop the egg out of the water with the slotted spoon. Drain as much water as you can and carefully transfer it to a saucer. Hold the egg carefully and drain and excess water back into the pot. Let the egg sit for one minute, then serve!

I’ve given you lots of little tips here, as these are all my secrets to making poached eggs work. I really hope, if you haven’t been able to master this breakfast delight, that all my advice works. Happy eating!

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