Thursday, 22 March 2012

How to poach eggs

On the other blog not so long ago I posted a TED talk about how to tie your shoelaces. That did have a transportation aspect to it, but this doesn't.

You can buy egg poachers, of course - including ones that are supposed to work in a microwave. I cannot recommend the expense of either a specialized stove pan or the microwave kits. A saucepan with a lid is all you need. I happen to have a Le Creuset cast iron one, that does not have a pouring lip. The lid doubles as a small skillet. Because it is cast iron it retains heat - and the lid holds in the steam.

The key is to have the eggs at room temperature before you start. This advice is all over the place, but like nearly everyone I know, I keep the eggs in the fridge. If you know you want poached eggs, take them out of the fridge long enough before you start so that they are not chilled. Overnight works well. This greatly reduces the frothing of the white.

Secondly put a small splash of ordinary white vinegar in the water. This stops the eggs spreading around.

My foolproof technique is to heat the water until it is boiling, and then take it off the heat. Add the eggs to the, by now, gently simmering water, put the lid on and then leave it alone. I like my eggs on toasted english muffins, and the length of time it takes to toast the muffins and then butter them is about right for perfect poached eggs. The white is cooked but the yolk is liquid. When you lift the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon you need to gently shake it to allow all the water to drain. This will confirm that the egg is cooked properly. There is no photo to go with this post. That is because once I have cooked my poached eggs I eat them straight away. As with nearly every other egg dish, they continue to cook, so while I fiddle around with a camera, the yolks would harden. Not gonna do that.

I do not understand the local obsession with Eggs Benedict. Free range fresh poached eggs on buttered whole wheat English muffins do not need any sauce. A short twist of the salt and pepper grinders is, in my view, the only condiment needed.

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