Recently, I asked my friends and family on Facebook if there was anything they'd like to see me attempt in the kitchen. Several great suggestions came through, but one intrigued me... take a video of myself poaching an egg. Jordan... challenge accepted!
I've poached eggs a few times, mostly to success (RIP watery rubber egg...). As far as my testing goes, I have tried vinegar vs. non-vinegar, pre-boiling, and the non-swirling vs. swirling of the water. The method which works for me may not be the one that works for you, however I do suggest you give it a go and try it several times. Like making pancakes, the first one (or several) come out weird as hell. Once you get it, however... it's magic.
For me It comes down to this: I add vinegar, I don't pre-boil, and I make the swirl in the water. The vinegar is suggested because chemically it helps to "tighten" the egg as it sets in the water while it cooks. You can certainly do this without the vinegar, but I find I get more egg soupy-ness without it, which is gross and not at all what I'm going for.
Okay, enough build up, let's go!
What you'll need:
- An egg
- A deep pot with a tight fitting lid
- Small bowl
- White vinegar
- Spoon or spatula
- Paper towel
- Small plate
- Skimmer or slotted spoon
First, you'll need to fill your pot until it's a couple inches deep of water (this is why you need a deep pot) and add a splash of white vinegar. Set it over medium heat and put the lid on. Bring the water up to a simmer (small bubbles on the bottom of the pot will form but no actual "boiling" will be occurring.
Next, crack your egg into a small bowl and set aside.
With the water simmering, take your spoon or spatula and begin swirling the water. You are essentially making a whirlpool happen. As soon as you get a good vortex going, slip your egg from the bowl into the middle of the vortex. The water will swallow up the egg and begin swirling the white around it.
It reminds me of this (start at 0:25):
You can use your spoon to continue to push the whites around the yolk as it cooks. Let it simmer, without too much poking and prodding, for 3-4 minutes. It will begin to float around the pot and look like a balled up wet t-shirt.
Make sure you have your skimmer or slotted spoon ready. You'll also want to put the paper towel on your small plate in preparation for the egg. Remove the egg carefully, avoiding as much of the foam as you can, with the skimmer and let it drain for a second or two over the water. It is super delicate, so don't bounce it around. Gently let it roll from the skimmer onto the paper towel to finish draining. Seriously looks like wet laundry, doesn't it?
And that's it! You've (hopefully) made a poached egg! Let's say you want to make these for a crowd and don't have eight pots to use... the cool thing about poached eggs is you can make them ahead of time, store them individually in small plastic sandwich bags in the fridge, and then quickly heat them up for a minute in simmering water again before serving.