Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Because how hard is it to poach a god damn egg properly? Seriously, that's like eggs 101 Woodhouse.

I can't remember when I learnt about eggs. I think I might have been with John and he had picked up a book all about eggs or perhaps it was someone whom a conversation had been had. A chef who had said "the true test of a chefs talent is shown in how they poach eggs". Doesn't matter, all I know is I learnt about eggs. I learnt how to hard cook a proper egg and all the variables from how to ensure the shell comes of as cleanly as a glove to preventing the oxidization of the yolk (you know what I mean, when the yellow part gets that unpleasant black discoloration). I learnt how to make the perfect omelet and of course, I know the tell tale marks of a perfect poached egg so it keeps it's shape, isn't rubbery and has a nice yolk perfect for dipping toast.

How to Poach an Egg:
To poach one or more eggs, bring an inch or two of water to a gentle boil in a skillet big enough to accommodate the number of eggs you’re cooking. (It’s best to do no more than 3 at a time – too many eggs will crowd the pan and cool down the water.) Ensure that there is enough water to fully cover the egg. Add a a teaspoon of vinegar, which isn’t necessary  but will lower the PH of the water helping the egg to hold its shape by causing the outer layer of the egg white to congeal faster. Without it, the eggs will become skeins of protein tangling up in the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer – the point at which the water barely bubbles – a rough, rolling boil will make your eggs go all over the place when you crack them in. If the water is too cool, the egg will separate apart before it cooks; if your water is too hot, you will end up with tough whites and an over-cooked yolk. You will want to bring the water to a temperature of about 160 to 180ºF (71-82ºC). 

Gently break your eggs into the water and as they start to set, spoon the water over the tops of the yolks to help them cook. Do not drop the egg into boiling water (212ºF or 100ºC). This will negatively affect the taste and texture of your eggs. If they stick to the bottom of the pan, loosen them with a thin spatula. Poach your eggs for 3-4 minutes, until the whites are firm and the yolks have filmed over. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to buttered toast or onto a paper towel to drain.

If you’re having company and need to cook poached eggs for a crowd: you can poach eggs in advance, and keep them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat them by dipping them into a saucepan of simmering water for about 30 seconds.

A poached egg makes a quick meal of sautéed greens or leftover grains (rice, barley, quinoa) or try a poached egg on top of a burger or pizza. They aren't just for toast anymore!

Image of Archer borrowed with love from Google Images. Archer, as you might already know, looks an awful lot like an aged Xander Crews.

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