There is something so simple and perfect about a poached egg. They look beautiful with the whites fluffy like a cloud and the sunshine yellow yolk that cascades out when opened.
Eggs Benedict is my favorite egg dish and as you may or may not know, it requires a poached egg. I have had many Eggs Benedict in my life – most of them more traditional with the Canadian bacon, some more California Style with tomato, spinach and avocado (love me that avocado with the luxurious yolk) and once while in New York City I had Lobster Eggs Benedict (talk about decadent). I remember one time that my parents made Eggs Benedict to celebrate a special occasion; like my Mom’s Birthday or Father’s Day. But homemade Eggs Benedict was a special treat.
In all that time I have never made a poached egg for myself. A couple weekends ago I decided to give this poached egg thing a try. From watching the pros make them on TV, I know that it looks simple but there is some technique to the process. Do you use vinegar? Do you swirl the water? Do you drop the egg in? What is the proper temperature for the water? I was on a mission to find out what works for me. The only thing I knew (thanks to the movie Julie & Julia) was the eggs had to be fresh!
I decided to start with the swirl the water method, it was the version I saw most frequently so I figured it would be a great place to start. I had a pot of simmer water and a fresh egg in a small bowl so I could easily drop it into the water. Using my large spoon I swirled the water, got the whirlpool going and I gently dropped in the egg then . . . it went everywhere in the water. Yuck!
Take two: pot simmering, fresh egg in small bowl, whirlpool in water, dropping of the egg and . . . egg everywhere, again! This was not going well for my self-esteem. After one more attempt and failure with the swirl/whirlpool method I took a break.
Remembering a tweet that I saw from Amanda Hesser about the “Control Freak Method” to poaching eggs, I decided to investigate this alternative method. Coming from Amanda Hesser, New York Times staff writer and Best Selling Cookbook author, this method has some weight behind it. Jumping onto Food52.com I found the post about poached eggs and even a video with Amanda demonstrating the “Control Freak Method” herself.
With this new knowledge I headed back to the kitchen, changed pots to a more shallow pot, set up my eggs, armed myself with the large spoon and smaller “helper” spoon required, and gave it a go. Dropped the egg into the large spoon, cradled it into the simmering water and a few moments later I had a perfectly poached egg! Success! In that moment I felt like I could accomplish anything! After making three more poached eggs, Joe and I sat down to breakfast. It was a very empowering morning!
With my new found empowerment and knowledge I share with you some tips from my first egg poaching experience.
- Make sure you give yourself time the first time you poach an egg. It takes a couple tries to get the technique down.
- The water needs to be hotter than you think. They say simmer but get it just before boiling. I would suggest start the temperature on the higher end and you can always reduce it as you need to.
- Do not leave your egg in the simmering water unattended. It is a matter of seconds between when your egg yolk goes from perfect to overdone
- Use the Extra Credit tip that Amanda suggests of cracking the egg into a small mesh sieve. This helps to remove the watery egg white (but not all the egg white) which means less mess in the pot and more perfect poached egg whites
- Remember to appreciate anyone who cooks a poached egg for your consumption! This is a skill that takes practice and patience.
Here is the link to the “Control Freak Method” of Poaching an Egg. Watch it carefully, its guidance is invaluable.
P.S. Last weekend, when I made the Poached Egg for this post’s cover photo the “Control Freak Method” worked like a charm!