Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poached Eggs- A Tutorial

Have you ever been to one of those fancy schmancy restaurants that serve brunch?  If so, I'm sure you've seen items on the menu such as eggs benedict or croque madames, as well as multiple other items that include poached eggs.  There's just something about poached eggs that turn a regular, everyday meal into a "special" or fancy (feeling) meal.  Poached eggs are a simple way to dress up any breakfast or brunch plate.  The flavor combinations are endless; use them to top roasted tomatoes, bacon cups, asparagus, various types of salads, or even toast-your options are only limited to your imagination.

Since poached eggs are typically seen in the breakfast and brunch type setting, which aslo means they are typically seen in smaller bistros or a more upper-end restaraunt, they have the reputation of being difficult to make.  This mindset about poached eggs is definitely a misconception.  The process is fairly simple, utilizing minimal tools.  Remember, practice makes perfect and if you don't nail it the first time then try again.  Practice patience and take your time and you too can make a perfect poached egg to top anything your heart desires!

There are as many egg poaching methods as there are types of eggs and egg cooking techniques.  I am not a pro at egg poaching, by any means.  This method, however, is the method that works best for me!

How to poach an egg

Ingredients/tools-

Eggs, very cold
Water
2 Tsp white vinegar
1 Tsp Kosher salt
Large saucepan
Small bowl or ramekin

Directions/how to-

Fill a large saucepan with water until it's about 2 inches deep.  Place the pan over medium heat.  Add the vinegar and salt to the water.
*The addition of vinegar to the water helps to tighten the egg.
Allow the water to become extremely hot, about 190.  At that temperature the water will be on the verge of boiling, there will be the small bubbles on the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat very slightly so ensure water does not boil 
*Do not allow water to come to a bowl or even a simmer.  If the water does begin to boil, reduce heat so boiling subsides.   

Crack a very cold egg into a small bowl.
*This will help to ease the egg gently into the hot water.
Using the handle of a spoon, gently stir the water so it begins to swirl, this is called the whirlpool method. This is a very important step in egg poaching.
*This method helps the whites to come together and wrap around the yolk.
Gently slide the egg out of the bowl into the middle of the whirlpool.
*Your egg will look like a scary, hot mess for only a moment...DON'T panic.  It will begin to come together (because of the whirlpool) and become a perfectly poached egg!
Turn off heat, cover the pan and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes.  I like my yolks a little on the runny side, so 3-4 minutes is perfect for my liking.  I you prefer them to be a little more set, allow for 4-5 minutes of cooking time. 
*Do not peak during this time.  Allow the egg to have some privacy during it's hot salt bath.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water bath to a tea towel lined plate, if serving immediately.  Alternately, if serving at a later time transfer egg to an ice water bath.  Eggs can be store in an ice bath for up to 8 hours.  Reheat before serving by placing in warm water for 1 minute.
Gently trim any excess whites, that didn't quite form around the yolk before serving.  Just to make it pretty!  We all like pretty food, right?

1 comment:

Jaida said...

What a great post!! I've never poached an egg, and quite frankly didn't have a clue what it meant to do so...now I just might have to give it a shot!

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