Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The perfect poached egg

Chris has requested my tips on how to cook the perfect poached egg and I am happy to oblige.

In my opinion I am quite good at poaching eggs, and when done nicely, it is the purest egg experience you can get. There are numerous ways to do it but this is what I normally do and I never have any failures.

Boil up a pan of water.
Do not add salt. (eggs whites react weirdly to salt)
When briskly boiling get a spoon and stir the water round and round until you have created a fast spinning vortex.
Quickly break your egg into the middle of the whirl.
The water will swirl around, gather up the white and wrap it around the yolk. (If you are quick you can get 2 eggs in while the vortex is still spinning, but the second egg won’t be as perfectly formed as the first.)
Now, watch the pan carefully and as soon as the water comes back to a gentle boil turn off the heat. (If you start to boil it furiously again the egg might break.)
At this stage you might think it hasn’t worked because there will be lots of gross eggy froth on the surface of the water, but worry not my friends, the real gem is lurking beneath.
Now, put your bread in the toaster.
When the toast is done and buttered, the egg will be ready. That’s how I time it, and the yolk is always perfectly done. (Disclaimer, due to the natural variation in toaster speed I cannot be held responsible if your egg and toast are not ready simultaneously.)
Lift out the egg with a slotted spoon. Leave behind all the eggy froth.

Note: It is important to have a large enough spoon to remove the egg from the pan or again it will break. If the spoon is not slotted you must attempt to drain off all the water unless you like soggy toast.

As previously mentioned Nick bought me 2 egg poaching thingys for Christmas. These are basically egg sized metal half spheres with a metal hanger. You put the egg in the sphere and hang it on the side of the pan. The sphere ensures the egg stays in one piece.

We tried the poachers out over Christmas with mixed results. Unfortunately our posh cast iron saucepans don’t readily accept the little hangers, and it took a few gos to realise that the eggs cooked much better when you emerge the whole thing instead of trying to keep the top of the water level with the top of the poaching sphere. The other drawback was that the egg stuck to the metal (not non-stick) so I broke a couple of yolks trying to coax them out.

If you really struggle making poached eggs using my ‘vortex then off the heat’ method I would recommend these gadgets, but I have to admit they were a bit unnecessarily fiddly and were a bugger to clean out afterwards.


Blogger Chris said...

Cool, cheers Rach. I will try this to the letter and see what happens. Maybe I haven't been spinning my water fast enough before.

5:27 PM  

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