Poached eggs are a healthy way to eat eggs as you don't need to use any fat to prepare them. Poached eggs can be served in salads, with bread or simply without side dishes.
A perfect poached egg has a smooth yolk, entirely surrounded by a firm, shiny white. You must not think that preparing an egg like this is a seven-headed beast; in fact, it's pretty simple, even without using an egg poacher. So don't be intimidated by the idea. Follow the instructions below on how to make a poached egg that will impress anyone for breakfast.
- Eggs (as many as you like)
- White vinegar (optional)
Step 1. Have everything handy before you start poaching eggs
Time is of the essence when it comes to poaching eggs.
- Any accompaniment, such as toast, meat and French fries, should be ready at the same time.
- If you're cooking for a group of people, you may need to keep other dishes hot in the oven or somewhere else warm. Eggs, however, must be prepared just before serving. You will be surprised to see how three minutes fly by. Just get distracted for a moment and what should be a perfect poached egg becomes a boiled egg.
Method 1 of 5: Poach the egg in the pan
Step 1. Choose the proper pot to poach
It should be shallow and wide, as the trick to poaching eggs to perfection is letting the egg slide gently into a shallow, wide pan containing water that is almost boiling. The pot should be big enough that you can pour 1.5 liters of water.
Step 2. Put water in the pan
Fill the pot with 1.5 liters of water, a depth of 10 cm, and bring to a light boil.
You can use milk in place of water for an even better taste
Step 3. To help make the egg look better, add 1-2 teaspoons of white vinegar to the water
It's not essential; however, vinegar curdles the egg white, which greatly improves the appearance of the poached egg.
- Other types of vinegar (balsamic, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar) can also be used and sometimes give an even better flavor to the egg; these types of vinegar can, however, change the egg's color.
- Larousse's cookbook recommends 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every liter of water, while chef Michael Romano recommends 1 teaspoon of vinegar per liter of water.
- Lemon juice can also help set the egg, but you will get a taste of the fruit. Although some people advise adding salt, it can prevent the egg whites from clotting, so it's best not to use it.
- If you use vinegar, the eggs will taste like vinegar. Chef Michael Romano advises putting the poached eggs (already ready) in a pan of very hot salted water for 1-2 minutes, which eliminates the vinegar flavor and, at the same time, "spices" the poached egg.
Step 4. Choose eggs.
The fresher the egg, the better it is to poach it; this is because the white is more consistent. Use very fresh eggs - an egg fresh from the hen will not need vinegar to help the whites coagulate.
Step 5. Unhurriedly scalp
For best results, only poach one egg at a time. When poaching more than one egg in the same pan, you run the risk of mixing them all. If you really need to poach more than one egg at the same time, don't put more than four eggs in the pan so you don't delay cooking time too much. Furthermore, the eggs will undoubtedly mix with each other. The following instructions explain how to prepare one to four eggs.
Step 6. Break the egg into a small bowl, teacup or soup ladle
Do this carefully so as not to break the yolk. You can break the egg into a dessert plate, which will make it easier to slip the egg into the pan of water.
Given the possibility of breaking the yolk when passing the egg from the bowl or plate to the pan, some people prefer to break it directly into the pan with water. Note that by breaking the eggs separately in the container and not in the pan, they have a chance to fall back into their little "protein cocoons". The best thing to do is experiment and see which method works best for you
Step 7. Decrease the heat until the water boils slightly
The water should bubble but not boil too much, and the temperature should be between 71 to 82 degrees.
Do not place the egg in boiling water (100°C) as it may become too hard
Step 8. Before placing the eggs in the pan, cool the water by making a circular motion with a spoon and creating a swirl in the center of the pan
Step 9. Slide or place the egg in the center of the swirl
To help maintain the shape of the egg, move the container in a circular motion while letting the whites slide into the pan.
Chef Michael Romano recommends "watering" the yolk with the white, shaping the egg, for 20 seconds or until the white is defined
Step 10. Wait 3-5 minutes for the egg to cook
You'll know the egg is ready when the white is completely set and the yolk starts to thicken.
Step 11. When poaching more than one egg, do not stir the water with a spoon
Place the first bowl with the edge just breaking the surface of the water. With a quick, smooth motion, pour the egg into the water.
- Quickly repeat this step with the other eggs, adding them 10-15 seconds apart. Leave plenty of room for eggs in the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, two or three eggs at a time is ideal.
- Remove each egg successively after each egg has cooked for three minutes.
Step 12. Remove the poached egg from the pan with a slotted spoon
Work quickly by placing each egg on a plate, letting the excess water drain back into the pan. Larousse's gastronomy book advises you to refresh the egg in cold water and let it drain on a cloth. Chef Michael Romano recommends immersing the eggs in very hot salt water for 30 seconds and placing them on a dish towel to dry.
If the edges don't look nice, use a knife or scissors to trim them
Step 13. Serve
Poached eggs should be served as soon as they are removed from the water and drained. They cool down quickly and when they cool they are not so appetizing.
- Serve with thick slices of bread.
- Serve with vegetables, boiled tomatoes and sausages.
- Serve with a salad.
- Serve inside a hamburger bun.
- Serve with vegetables.
- Serve the poached eggs over buttery English muffins topped with hollandaise sauce, béarnaise or perhaps a little bacon or grilled ham to go with it.
- Serve as eggs benedict.
Method 2 of 5: Using an Individual Egg Hoop
Step 1. Use the steps described in the previous method
However, when it comes to adding the egg, put the egg ring in the pan first. The hoop should have a hook to hook onto the edge of the pan; simply hook the hoop before sliding the egg into the pan.
Step 2. Place the egg inside the rim
Step 3. Cook as described above
Then remove the rim from the pan. Drain and serve as described above.
Method 3 of 5: Using Silicone Bowls
Step 1. If you have access to a good kitchenware store, consider purchasing a silicone egg poach bowl or a silicone egg poach set (a set often comes with a pan with a clear lid)
This is a relatively inexpensive and very simple option.
Step 2. Place the bowl over the water in the pan
Step 3. Bring to a light boil and crack the egg into the bowl
Step 4. Simmer with the pan covered for 8 minutes
Step 5. Use a dessert knife to separate the poached egg from the sides of the bowl
Turn the bowl upside down onto a piece of toast.
Step 6. Serve
Method 4 of 5: Making Poached Eggs in Advance
Step 1. Despite what has been said about serving immediately, it is possible to make poached eggs in advance for the busy cook with a serving crowd
Step 2. Make the poached eggs as described above
Step 3. Simply dip the poached eggs in ice water to cool
Put them in the fridge and leave them until serving time – you can keep them for up to a day in the fridge.
Step 4. Pour them into a pan of nearly boiling, salted water for 20-30 seconds (not more than a minute) and they're ready to serve
Do not cook eggs beyond that. Use the serving suggestions described above.
Method 5 of 5: If yolk breaks in water
Step 1. Don't panic if the yolk falls apart
Simply use a spoon to stir the edges of the pan into a round shape. Serve as stated above.
Step 2. If mixing carefully doesn't work and the shape doesn't feel like it, remove the (boiled) egg with the spoon
Serve with a piece of garlic bread or French bread. Add seasoning and vegetables to the egg and any sauce you like (prefer hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise or millet sauce). This will disguise the egg's appearance.
- Leftovers, such as pasta, lobster, kebabs, beef tongue, meringue and even soups can be used as side dishes to distract the person who will eat the egg.
- This method works best for a single egg. If you have more than one broken egg, hide them between toast or inside another dish.
- You can also poach your eggs in a small Teflon skillet. It can contain enough water to cover the egg. You can lay two eggs at once and it's easier to put in and take out the eggs without them breaking.
- It is very easy to use egg poachers. Just follow the instruction manual.
- A poaching hoop can be used to maintain the egg's shape. These metal hoops are available at cookware stores.
- Do not pour the egg into boiling water (100°C)! This will negatively affect the flavor and texture of the egg. As a general rule, let the water boil; then reduce heat before starting to cook eggs.
- Only keep poached eggs if they have been well cooked to avoid salmonella.