Maybe it’s just me, but for years I was completely intimidated by the idea of poaching eggs. I could make them pretty much any other way but poaching… um, no. I attempted it a few times and ended up with watery egg drop soup. Gag.
The thing is, I really like poached eggs and I didn’t want to have go out for brunch every time I craved them. So I read a bunch of cookbooks (this was pre-internet, you iPhone babies), practiced a few techniques and now… perfect poached eggs, every time.
I’m telling you, it’s easy peasy as long as you do a few things. One, don’t use boiling, bubbling water. A gentle simmer is the way to go here. Two, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin first. Makes it so much easier to plop in the water. Three, swirl. I’ll explain that one later.
What you’ll need:
A deep, wide skillet (something like this)
Ramekins or little cups for your eggs
A wooden spoon
A slotted spoon
4 Eggs (or as many as you want but I wouldn’t do more than 4 at a time)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Fill a deep, wide skillet with water, not quite to the top and bring to a full boil. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin and set aside. Once the water is at a full boil, turn it way down until it’s just barely simmering. Add a big pinch of kosher salt (about a 1/2 teaspoon) and the vinegar. Give the water a stir to combine.
With the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the water in a tight little circle and drop the first egg right in the middle. You can use the wooden spoon to kind of coax the white in a little bit but don’t be too stressed about it. It will come together, I promise. Do the same with the other eggs, leaving as much space as possible between each one.
Let them poach in the gently simmering water for about 3-4 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, scoop one up, and check it for doneness. For me, a perfect poached egg has a fully set white and a very runny yolk. If you like your yolk more set, let it cook a minute or so longer.
Once it’s done to your liking, gently remove them and set on a paper towel to drain. You can cut away any wispy whites if you want a perfect looking circle. Then move to your serving plate, season with salt and pepper and smile proudly. You’ve overcome your (my) greatest fear.
If you’re making more than 4 or want to poach them in advance, you can make them slightly underdone and put them aside on a paper towel. When you’re ready for them, put them back in the simmering water for 30 sec to 1 minute. Take them out, re-drain them and serve.
Poached eggs are a fantastic way to make a side-dish into a main. I love them on Zucchini Fritters.