The perfect cooked egg is the most difficult task in the kitchen and most necessary. An under cooked egg is not appetizing. An over cooked egg — scrambled or otherwise — is inedible.
Poached eggs are an elegant breakfast or dinner. When I was a kid our Sunday suppers often centered around eggs, and most of the time it was poached eggs on toast. My Mother was gifted at creating dinner where bread was the basis — canned asparagus, stewed tomatoes, creamed corn and the lowly egg over toast made for an economical and filling meal. But poached eggs were my favorite. They were, and remain, the perfect topper for toast, waffles, salads and English Muffins (aka their fancy cousin cuisine of Eggs Benedict).
Poaching eggs is easy and doesn’t have to require special pans. In fact, my favorite method utilizes just a sauce pan and a slotted spoon.
What you’ll need:
|A medium sauce pan
||a slotted spoon
Fill the pan with water. You’ll need at least 3 inches of water or liquid in the pan. Bring the water to boiling.
Add the vinegar to the boiling water. Vinegar acts as a binding agent to hold the egg white together. If you don’t add the vinegar the boiling water will break the egg apart.
Reduce heat to medium low and allow the boiling to reduce to just a soft roll to simmer.
Crack the egg and gently lower it into the water then release it from the shell. In the beginning you might find it easier to break the egg into a custard cup or very small bowl and lower it gently into the water.
Gently swirl the water around the egg to form it into a round. Then leave it alone for 2-3 minutes. As you can guess, the longer you leave it in the water the more firm the yolk becomes.
Use the slotted spoon to lift the egg from the water and roll it onto the paper towel. Blot off excess moisture and then roll it onto toast, a plate, salad, or muffin.
Other tools to poach an egg.
This pan was a staple in our kitchen during the 60’s and 70’s. If you aren’t comfortable dropping your eggs into the boiling water and getting them to form up, or if you just want a more processed look, this is a great way to achieve the perfect poached egg.
You can buy an egg poaching pan at the hardware store for about $15.00. This CHEFS Hard Anodized Egg Poacher Pan – 4-cupis a multi-tasking beauty as a 4-cup braising chef’s pan, sauce pan, or with these non-stick cup inserts for poaching. I’ve used the egg cups also to freeze stocks and individual gelatin molds. It’s quite useful for $59.95.
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What to do with a poached egg?
There is nothing better than a classic. These poached eggs are served up the traditional way. A little seasoning — basic salt and pepper — and resting on plain old bread.
If you want to enhance a classic poached egg, try changing up the bread. Rest your perfectly poached eggs on a baguette, sliced grain breads, croissant or English muffin. Just remember that the calories and the fat content are changed dramatically based on your choice of breads and accompaniments.
The poached egg added to this luncheon salad really dresses up the presentation as well as the nutritional value. The poached egg, replacing the more traditional hard boiled eggs, makes this salad dressier for a special occasion.
Eggs Benedict is an American classic. The original is an English muffin with a piece of Canadian ham topped with a perfect poached egg and spoonful of hollandaise. It was first served at New York’s Waldorf Hotel.
It’s almost a sin to mess with the basic eggs benedict, but I do prefer this modern updated poached egg sandwich by The Weekend Gourmande. This uses replaces the hollandaise with cheddar cheese and adds sautéed spinach and sliced tomato.