It took me a couple days to write this post because Jason was so busy that he didn’t have time to help me poach an egg. Then I had an epiphany… If You are going to try to do it because you need to learn, why should I?! So, I bucked up and got the courage. I’ve seen him do it before, but he is my crutch.
Why poach an egg when you can just fry one? Well, if you’re like me and you love a perfectly runny yoke while having the whites be 100% cooked but not chewy and rubbery, you’ll love a poached egg. It takes a few tries to get it right, but in the end, you get a darn good egg. Whenever I eat a poached egg, I think of the movie “Julie and Julia” when Julie has to poach an egg for the first time, and EAT an egg for the first time (something that I was completely baffled by… I think I ate an egg almost everyday growing up), and she described it as “it’s like cheese sauce”. And it is! It’s like a delightfully light cheese sauce. Putting it over toast is even better. We’ll have a post with that later.
So to poach an egg, it does take some finesse. In a medium sauce pan, fill water about half way up the pot. Add a good splash of white vinegar. Bring it up to somewhere between a simmer and boil. (Little air bubble will rise to the top, but the water isn’t bubbling.) With a wooden spoon (or something heat resistant), start to swirl the water into a whirlpool. It needs to have enough momentum to continue to swirl while you crack the egg and drop it gently in.
Try to aim for the middle of the pot. The movement of the water will bring the whites of the egg around the yoke, into a little cocoon.
Some strands might float up and that’s ok, but you mainly want the whites to be in a neat round shape. Cook this for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how runny you like the yoke. When it’s cooked to your liking, lift out with the spoon trying to strain as much water out as possible.
The first time I tried to do this, I failed. The egg still cooked alright, but the water was yucky. This happened for a couple reasons. 1. I didn’t have any vinegar in it. White vinegar acts as a stabilizer for the whites. Like cream of tartar in meringues. (Yes, white vinegar can be used as a substitute for cream of tartar if you don’t have any.) 2. I didn’t drop the egg in gently. It just plopped in a very ungraceful-like manner, and it showed. The yoke splattered everywhere and spread apart, resulting in disgusting white floaties. 3. I don’t think the temperature was right. I looked away a little too long and it started boiling, so I took it off the burner for a bit. I don’t know if it was too hot or too cool.
Like I said, the egg was still edible, you just didn’t want to view what it came out of if you were eating it. Not yummy. (As pictured, you can clearly see the difference.)
I still love fried eggs, and when my kiddo wants an egg I’ll probably go for that method. Simply because it quicker. But a poached egg is healthier because you’re not using butter, margarine, or cooking spray to have it not stick. Water is of course 0 calories. Can’t beat that.
Ok, so I got over my fear of poaching, it’s your turn! Try it out! It makes you feel fancy. Julia Child herself would be proud. When you get really good at it, you can poach it in different things. For class one time, Jason poached an egg in maple syrup. I can’t remember what else he put along with it, but his dish made the amuse-bouche for the night at the culinary school’s restaurant. (Yes, I was bragging about my man there… I’m not sorry.)
If you have any questions, please let us know! Jason would be more than happy to answer.
REMEMBER THE VINEGAR!
The Everyday Chef and Wife