Never before in my thirty plus years of life have I poached an egg – at least not that I can recall. Which makes sense, in a way. I don’t really eat poached eggs so why would I cook them?
Over Easter I visited a friend who lives in the Green Lake area of Seattle and for Easter brunch I had pancakes that came with a side of two eggs. When the waitress asked me how I wanted my eggs cooked I randomly answered, “Poached?” (in the form of a question in the event poached eggs weren’t an option.) Turns out they were and I had my very first poached eggs in as long as I can remember.
When flipping through the April 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine this weekend, I came across Alton Brown’s step by step instructions for poaching eggs. The method is fool-proof though if you ask my sister she will tell you that poaching eggs is easy.
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow, deep 1-quart saucier. Add salt and vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile crack one very fresh cold large egg into a custard cup or small ramekin. Use the handle of a spatula to quickly stir the water in the saucier in one direction until it’s spinning around, creating a whirlpool. (Use this method if cooking one or two eggs. For bigger batches heat the water in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and do not stir.)
- Carefully drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The swirling water will help prevent the egg whites from spreading out in the pan.
- Turn the heat off, cover the pan and set aside for five minutes. Don’t touch the pot in any way while the timer is going.
- Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Alternatively move the egg to an ice bath and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Reheat in warm water just before serving.
I was a bit skeptical of this method, I will admit. I hate not being able to watch food as it cooks and I don’t have a glass cover that fits the pan I was using so I didn’t get to see the egg poaching. When I lifted the cover, sure enough, there was one perfectly poached egg right where I dropped it off.
My egg turned out to be mostly hard throughout the middle, which was a bit disappointing. I don’t know about you, but I like my eggs runny (so I can dunk something – usually bacon but toast will do – in the yolk). I’m not sure if you need to cut down on the time in order to make this happen or if my egg cooked extra long resulting in a hardened yolk.
Due to the awe and delight I experienced when I lifted the cover and saw a real poached egg made by none other than moi (and, in part, to my camera freezing as I was trying to take a picture); my egg remained in the water for another three or four minutes after the recommended poaching time. I would recommend playing around with the cook time until you find an amount that yields a satisfactory yolk.