Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to poach an egg

Not many people can say that there is one thing that they are blindingly brilliant at, but honestly, all trumpet-blowing aside, I am the Princess of egg-poaching. I can only credit this to the many gruelling hours I spent on the breakfast shift of a 120 seater restaurant. When you have one hand babying 30 poached eggs in 6 separate saucepans of simmering water and the other furiously whisking a 12 egg hollandaise you learn pretty quickly how to master the art without landing up with… um egg on your face!

So here it is, step-by-step: the secret to perfect poached eggs!

Step 1: Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and add about 1T white vinegar. Crack a fresh, room temperature egg into a small bowl or ramekin.

Step 2: Swirl the water with a spoon to create a whirlpool and slowly drop the egg into the centre of the whirlpool. Leave for a few seconds before gently lifting the egg to make sure it isn’t stuck on the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the egg to poach, making sure the water doesn’t boil, to the desired stage.

Step 3: Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place briefly on a clean tea towel. The egg is now ready to be served.

TIMING: Soft yolk 2-3 minutes
               Firm-set yolk 3-4 minutes

  • Don’t allow the water to boil as this might cause the delicate egg to break
  • The vinegar helps the eggs to coagulate quickly in the water and stops them falling apart
  • If you are poaching more than one egg, it is a good idea to have 2 saucepans of water on the stove: use the above method to poach the egg until soft yolk stage then gently transfer it into the other saucepan for the remaining cooking time whilst you poach another egg in the first. In professional kitchens, the eggs are poached to soft yolk stage beforehand then plunged into ice water and stored. To serve they are simply droppped into hot, salted water to heat
Happy poaching!

Photography by Richard Aaron

1 comment:

  1. oh boy.. those egg-poaching days!!! Kate, do you do all your own photography?! I read your blog just for the visuals :)