Jun 07 2011
Poached eggs can seem like such an elegant delight; and if you’re just getting started making them, an incredible frustration to make. How in the world is one supposed to drop an egg into boiling hot water and then whip it out again, all while keeping it in tact and beautiful? It definitely can seem daunting, and I ruined dozens of eggs I’m sure until I finally got it right. The trick to perfectly poaching eggs lies in two things: how fast the water is boiling, and vinegar.
Vinegar is hugely important and something that should never be forgotten when you’re making poached eggs. It’s the vinegar that helps the whites of the eggs set, and wrap around the yolk in that familiar poached pocket look. Once this takes place, it’s really just a matter of waiting until the yolk is as cooked as you like it.
How fast the water is boiling is also very important. I usually put my water on high and bring it to a fast, rolling boil. Then I lower the heat and bring it down to just a gentle simmer. This is important because if the water is angrily boiling away in the pot, it will ruin the delicate egg before it can ever begin to poach, and you’ll be left with an egg mess floating around in a pot.
Once you’ve mastered these two things it’s all just a matter of getting that egg out of the pot without breaking the yolk, if softly cooked. It’s such a shame to get that far and then have the egg break all over the plate before it can be served. But once you properly poach a few eggs properly, it really is surprising how simple this decadent egg can be!