Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Perfectly Poached Eggs

My husband and I took a trip to London last January and one of the best parts of the trip was the full English breakfast. This thing is massive - 2 poached eggs, 2 sausages, 2 pieces of bacon, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, beans, toast, and of course, tea. I behaved myself and didn't "tuck in" to the beans and toast, but the feast of protein was amazing. The surprising thing for me, though, was that I loved the poached eggs.
That's the glow of someone with full English breakfast in their belly.
As a child, I had an aversion to runny yolks. My brother would get his eggs sunny-side up and actually let the yolk run all over everything else on his plate... toast, bacon, didn't matter. I'd want to throw up just watching his egg yolk bleed all over everything. My eggs had to be WELL DONE or not at all.

But going back to my full English breakfast - the eggs arrived and I saw they were poached. Adopting the old "when in Rome..." attitude, I dug in. And could not believe the velvety deliciousness of the runny egg yolk. It's like believing Santa Claus isn't real, and then discovering he actually is. It was that kind of magical. It turned my world upside down because I was sure I HATED runny yolks. I don't think I can explain how truly life-altering this is.

Well, getting back home I now had to figure out how to poach my eggs myself because I'm not a breakfast at the Waldorf everyday kind of girl. It took me a few tries to get it down but now I can make myself this classy breakfast in no time.

  • 2 eggs (the fresher, the better!)
  • Dash of apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • Salt, pepper, and parsley flakes, to taste
  1. Crack your eggs into a small bowl (like a custard cup or prep bowl)
  2. Set about 2 inches of water on the stove in a large non-stick skillet or stock pot over medium heat.
  3. The water should heat until large bubbles form along the bottom, but should not simmer or boil. If you can stick your finger in the water without burning yourself, it's just right. (Be careful about testing this out, though.)
  4. When the water is ready, add the splash of vinegar and stir vigorously with a slotted spoon. It creates a little vortex so when you drop in the eggs they wrap around themselves to make the little pouch. The vinegar is to help the eggs stick to themselves easier. I've tried it without and still got my eggs to adhere, but I noticed my water was extremely cloudy so it was hard to see inside. I do think the vinegar helps.
  5. Using the cup, lay the eggs into the swirling water gently, but quickly. Don't drop them into the pot or else they'll come apart. It's kind of like putting a goldfish in a tank. Nice and easy. Unless you're some kind of sadistic fish torturer.
  6. Set a timer for 5 minutes and DON'T TOUCH THE EGGS. In fact, don't even THINK about touching those eggs. Just let them sit and do their thing. Even if it looks like the yolk is having an out of body experience, I promise it will poach itself.
  7. When the timer goes off, use your slotted spoon to gently lift an egg at a time from the water. You may have to lightly detach it from the bottom of the pot, which is why it's handy to use non-stick. If you're not sure if they're done, the yolk should have a little jiggle to it and the white should be completely cooked. You can test the yolk by lightly tapping with your finger. I sometimes leave them in a minute or two longer just to have a nice blend of texture with a thicker liquid yolk. You'll figure it out over time what you like best.
  8. Arrange eggs on a plate. You could blot the egg on a tea towel if it's too watery. If any little tendrils are left hanging on the egg just slice them off to make it look neat and pretty. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and fresh cracked pepper (and parsley flakes for some visual pizazz) and enjoy!
Keep the eggs in a separate small bowl so you can gently lay them into the pot
Water is just about ready when large bubbles form all along the bottom. Remember - no boiling!

Swirl the water around with your spoon

Sorry for the poor quality, but there was a lot of movement here.

Don't touch!

Still don't touch! Even though it looks like the yolks left the pouch, they really didn't. Put on your acid washed jeans and have Faith.

BOOM! Poached eggs! Jiggly yolk = perfect

If these eggs could grow arms, they'd be giving jazz hands right now.

C'est Magnifique!