Poaching is my default way of cooking eggs. I love a solid white and dippy yolk, whereas Andrew likes his yolks set like bullets, so with poaching I can leave his in the poaching water for a bit longer than mine.
I’ve seen and heard lots of tips for poaching the perfect egg – here’s my way to poach the perfect egg.
Firstly, always use a good quality egg, and as you know my favourites are Clarence Court Burford Browns. The fresher the egg, the better the white clings to the yolk. We usually buy a dozen eggs every couple of weeks and get through them over our weekend breakfasts … but sometimes with the older eggs the white spreads across the bottom of the pan and if this happens you need to keep an eye on your poached egg as the yolk might cook a bit more quickly than normal … and the last thing you want (unless you are Andrew) is a solid yolk.
So, to get started: put a kettle of water onto boil and heat a frying pan on the hob. When the water has boiled, pour it into the hot frying pan. The water should be hot enough that it bubbles energetically.
Add a splash of white wine vinegar to the simmering water. I don’t measure it, but one capful should be enough. If you don’t have white wine vinegar then use another colour-less one. I have used cider vinegar before and would even use malt at a push. You can’t taste the vinegar in the poached egg but it’s supposed to keep the egg white together … having accidentally forgotten to add the vinegar before, it does seem to make a difference.
Crack your lovely egg into a ramekin and then pour it into the water gently. You can crack the egg directly into the liquid but that can burn your fingers if you aren’t quick enough, so a ramekin is safer.
Allow the eggs to cook in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Generally my runny yolked eggs take the same time to cook as my bread does to toast, but when I see the white starting to set (it goes opaque) I take the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon or egg slice and touch the yolk to test how soft it is. Whilst I never want a hard yolk, nor to I want a snotty white – there’s a fine line between cooked and not so watch carefully.
Take your perfectly cooked egg out of the frying pan and put it on some kitchen paper to drain. Pat it dry (a soggy, watery egg is not a good egg) and then serve it as you like.
I love poached eggs as part of a healthy(ish) English breakfast:
Potato cakes, hot smoked salmon, spinach, poached egg and hollandaise:
How do you eat yours?