(This is the newest installment in my “How to” series. Be sure to check out some of the previous tutorials, such as chopping an onion, julienning a carrot, and holding and cutting with a chef’s knife.)
Let’s see a show of how of hands for how many of you quake with fear at the thought of poaching an egg. I fully admit that, up until about six months ago, I would have raised two hands. Poaching eggs was a task that should be left to the professionals. Each time I attempted the seemingly impossible skill, creeping tendrils of egg white would fill the pot, or the yolk would be hard as a rock. The eggs were getting the best of me and the little control freak sitting on my shoulder was not okay with that.
When I went on a trip with the kind people at the American Egg Board (you know, the Incredible Egg people), Jeffrey Saad (host of the Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America), showed us how to achieve a perfect, runny poached egg every time out of the gate. It was probably a skill he learned on day one of culinary school but, to me, it made the man a verified genius!
Come on, who can resist getting their picture taken in an egg chair?
By using a large skillet rather than a pot, this method gives you more control over the eggs. A touch of vinegar is added to help keep long tendrils of egg white under control. And the timing? Three minutes every time – it works like a charm.
An aside on Egg Nutrition:
In our house, eggs are one of our go-to foods for a quick meal. There is nothing easier than whipping up an omelet on a busy week night. So, I was happy to hear the USDA’s newly-released data on eggs. Once thought to be a little oval full of heart-stopping cholesterol, the USDA reports that eggs actually have 14 percent less cholesterol than originally reported. In addition, one large egg now provides 41 IU of Vitamin D, a 64 percent increase since 2002. That means that making egg benedict on the weekend, with my newly-found poaching skills, and fitting in a couple of egg-based meals during the week can fit with the healthy lifestyle we are trying to achieve. Now, onto the poaching.
Poaching an egg:
Fill a large skillet with water to three-quarters full and set over medium heat. Bring to the water to a simmer, add 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do), and a couple pinches of salt.
Vinegar is used to speed up coagulation, which will stop the egg from spreading through the water. The salt is added for seasoning, and is optional. If you prefer, season after removing the eggs from the water.
Crack the eggs directly into the water. Make sure the water remains at a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary.
Many people recommend cracking the egg into a small bowl, and then sliding the egg into the water. However, if you take care not to break the yolk, it is easier to crack the egg directly into the water. Just go for it!
Cook for 3 minutes to achieve a perfectly poached egg. Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg from the water and blot on a paper towel to remove excess water before transferring to serving plate.
No one likes soggy toast or English muffins, so be sure not to skip this step.
If you are making poached eggs for a crowd, they can be made ahead of time. When first poaching, the eggs should be undercooked, for 2 minutes. Store the eggs in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Before serving, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the bowl into gently simmering water. Leave in the water for 1 minute, then remove, following directions above.
Recipe using poached eggs:
Disclaimer (or nondisclaimer): This is not a sponsored post. The opinions are my own and the information regarding egg nutrition was released this week by the USDA.