How to Poach an Egg

poached egg 003They say the third time is the charm, and I’d agree: it took three encounters with poached eggs to compel me to take a break from my usual scrambled eggs and try my hand at the somewhat slippery but oh-so-rewarding poached egg.

Instance #1: While watching Julie poach eggs on “Julie & Julia,” I, along with everyone else in the audience, thought,  I can do that! Instance #2: Last week at The Sideboard Cafe in Danville I ordered their lovely poached eggs: the yellow yolk seeping into the holes in the crisp toast, topped with fresh herbs and a bit of Parmesan–splendid! Instance #3: Last night I was reading Sam’s and my new Bride and Groom Cookbook (it’s written by the chefs of Foreign Cinema!) and saw a recipe for poached eggs on frisee, an alluring alternative to the scrambled eggs on romaine I had eaten for lunch that day. Thus when I went to bed last night,  I knew that in the morning it would be poached eggs or nothing.

How to Poach an Egg:

(1) Fill a large, shallow pan with about 2 inches of water. The diameter of the pan you choose will depend on how many eggs you are poaching. Each egg needs room to expand while cooking.

(2) Add a little bit of vinegar to the cooking water, as this makes the whites set faster. I added Sherry Vinegar, but next time I’ll dig deeper into the cupboard to find the white vinegar.

(3) Bring the water barely to a simmer.

(4) Crack each egg into a ramekin or small bowl. Then gently slide the eggs one-by-one into the water. Do not worry when the egg sinks to the bottom! It will be fine. As Ruth Reichel writes in The Gourmet Cookbook, “a poaching egg is pretty good at taking care of itself.” Just keep an eye on it.

(5) When the white looks firm but the yolk is still runny (it’s a guessing game at first!), use a slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the water. Blot the underside of the egg with a paper towel to remove any excess water.

(6) Slide the egg onto your toast, sprinkle with fresh thyme and a few shavings of Dubliner cheddar and voila! You have a delicious, warm and satisfying poached egg.

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