Why don’t you like me?
Is it my color?
Do you think I’ll make you fat?
Maybe my gooey insides freak you out?
Could it be that you just don’t like things that are different?
These are questions poached eggs would like to ask you. (By you, I am referring to all the people who have never had a poached egg.)
Just imagine being shunned because people are unfamiliar with you. It can make an egg have hurt feelings. I think this is how hard-boiled eggs first originated. All of his anger and disappointment built up inside and hardened his yolk.
How do you like that? Do you feel the least bit guilty now? You’ve gone and made this poor egg have a low self esteem. Isn’t life hard enough on little eggs? I’m sure there is a support group for them in the big city but what about all the small town eggs?
As a kid I remember eating a lot of scrambled eggs but I don’t remember poached being on the menu. (Not like I sat down each morning to a menu…that would have been cool.) It was more like a box of Cheerios and a banana. (I know my mom loves both Cheerios and bananas so we were presented with a menu it would have not had a lot of categories.)
I do remember having scrambled eggs a lot too. Mom probably offered a fried egg or over easy but I am sure I was too picky to eat them.
My love of poached eggs came the first time I had eggs benedict. It was so beautiful the way the yolk oozed over the muffin onto my plate. A poached egg done right is just a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be saved for breakfast out but enjoyed all the time.
Most people don’t make them at home because they think they are hard to perfect but it is all about knowing a couple of tricks.
Your Pan. Big and shallow. You want to be able to cover your egg with about an inch of water and have some wiggle room below it so it doesn’t stick. I’ve seen different hints on using soup pots and nonsticks that have never worked for me but I have seen it work for others. (Show-offs.)
Eggs. You want fresh eggs. Poached eggs aren’t the things to make when you are trying to use up those two eggs that have been sitting on your refrigerator door for the past 4 months. Those you save to toss at your enemies. (I’ve never pitched an egg at someone but it is on my bucket list.)
You also want to crack each egg individually into a ramekin and have them sitting by the stove until you are ready. This helps you avoid breaking a yolk directly into your water and a smoother transition of egg into the water. (I mean, this egg already feels sad so you should make him feel like a royalty as he sets sail into the water.)
Plus don’t try to poach a zillion eggs at once. First of all, where are you getting a zillion eggs? Second of all, they will all just join together and make a massive egg that probably will take over the world. (You think zombies are scary, you should see a poached egg cluster!)
Poach only 1-4 eggs at a time. You can do them in batches and set them in cool water to shock them from continuing to cook. A quick dip in the hot water before serving will bring them back up quickly.
I would personally just have a couple of pans going so you can serve them all at the same time but then again I don’t have more than 4 friends so this is not really a concern.
Water. You want the water to be at a simmer. (My egg friends thinks that warrants further explanation.) Simmering water is not a full boil. You should NOT see rolling waves. You want to see little perky bubbles. If you cannot recognize the difference between a cute little bubble and a huge hideous monster bubble, break out your instant read thermometer. It should be about 185 degrees.
Don’t let it come to a boil and reduce the heat. Just heat the water slowly. Yes it takes more time but trust me it is worth it. While it is heating up, take the time to unload the dishwasher or read your favorite blog….Felt Like a Foodie. (Is this my first shameless plug?)
Vinegar. Don’t skip this step. I use about 1-2 tsp of white vinegar. You have to some acid for the whites to coagulate properly. This helps the proteins in the egg white to solidify and not become a feathery mess in the water. (There is a lot more science to this but I’ll save that for another blog about egg proteins.)
I’ve played around with different vinegars just as a flavor compound. I did use rice wine vinegar the other day and loved the flavor but did have to add more because it less acidic than regular white vinegar.
Getting them in the pan. There are two ways of doing this, the tornado twirl and gentle drop. The tornado twirl is where you make a vortex in your water and put your egg in the middle. The goal here is that the vortex will twirl the white around the yolk and hold it together beautifully. I’ve done this a few times successfully and few times I’ve had major egg disasters. (I’m scared of tornados.)
I like to put the egg gently in the simmering water like a baby taking a bath. I touch the rim of the ramekin to the edge of the water and let that sweet thing drop into the water. (I would not put an actual baby in simmering water because that would hurt.)
Poaching Time: This is a great debate. (Not really for normal people but people who like poached eggs are known to have national debates on this subject.)
There are those who keep the water simmering and cook the egg around three minutes and then there is the method of turning off the heat, covering the pan and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. (This is Alton Brown’s method, I believe.)
If you immediately notice your whites feathering off, use a spoon and baste it with the feathering water for about 15-30 seconds. I like to do this better than the volcano.
I’ve got the best results with the covering the pan and turning off the heat method. I will say my time varies usually between 4-5 but you can look at the egg and see the whites harden.
Removal. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and gently place a paper towel UNDER the spoon to suck up the extra water. I’ve seen people dab the egg and bust the yolk. That is unfortunate.
Poached eggs are best known for the appearance on Eggs Benedict (like in my picture topped with truffled hollandaise) BUT they are also great on a steak, salad and even a pizza!!! They are so versatile!
So as you work on your resolutions for 2016, why don’t you put “mastering poached eggs” on your list? Isn’t it time to give these pretty little guys a chance?!