Almost Perfect Poached Eggs
Up until a year ago I had never made a poached egg. And I had never felt the need to. Even after I tasted my first poached egg I wasn’t convinced. But my mother was visiting and I thought I would treat her and my husband to poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.
I am so glad I did!
Not only are my husband and I hooked on poached eggs now, but we also frequently devour a batch of Hollandaise sauce – the Hollandaise deserves its very own post, though, so I will focus on the poached eggs for now.
There are so many methods and tips out there for poached eggs. And because I’m so very helpful, I am adding a few links.
- The Guardian’s Word of Mouth Blog has a cute comparrison of the methods employed by Marcus Wareing, Delia Smith and Rose Prince. The article is written by Felicity Cloake and is aptly called How to Make the Perfect Poached Egg. The methods include shallow-poaching and the clingfilm method.
- And if you need A LOT of poached eggs and aren’t too bothered about what they look like, Cooking Tip of the Day has a very pretty tutorial on Poaching eggs in the oven. Who knew!
But we love Heston and Heston’s methods work. If I was going to advocate following his method to the letter, I would call this Perfect Poached Eggs, not Almost Perfect Poached Eggs. But I am also a practical being with a normal, tiny kitchen, so we will take some liberty with his suggestions.
If you want a pretty photo tutorial and a complete run-down of Heston’s Poached Eggs, Howtopoacheggs.com has a good one. It also has tutorials on the classic method and the pouch method.
Heston’s Suggests using:
- The freshest egg you can lay your hands on – if at all possible you should hold the hen over the slotted spoon so that she can lay the egg right into it.
- Salt – salt your water, not your egg. I have no idea why.
- A plate – Place a plate (upside down) in the bottom of the pan. This will keep the egg away from the direct heat source and help it cook more even. Note: if your water temperature is slightly too high, the plate will start bobbing around in the pan…
- A slotted spoon – you should ideally let the egg (sans shell, doh) rest on the slotted spoon for a minute or two to get rid of the slimy bits. This is where the freshness of the egg is key. If you use an old egg, you will lose half your egg white (if not more). You might as well seperate the eggs and make poached yolks then, because that will be more appetising than the slime-covered yolk you’ll end up with if you use old eggs.
- A thermometer! If you water is less than 70 C, your egg will either be raw or rubbery and raw (if cooked longer). If your water is more than 80 ºC, your egg will look like a watery fried egg.
My Perfectly Plebian Poached Eggs
- No straining
- No vinegar
- No swirling
- No clingfilm
- No ramekins
- No plates in the bottom of the pan
Fill your saucepan with about 15 – 20cm of water and add a couple of teaspoons of salt.
Heat the water. Once it gets to 80 ºC, try to keep the temperature there. If your water starts bubbling it is too hot!
Take the very freshest egg you can find and crack it straight into the water. If you are really set on draining some egg white, crack the egg into your hand first and let a little bit of egg white drain away. Obviously make sure that your hands are squeaky clean!
Don’t place any vinegar or plates or things in your pot/pan. Just the little egg.
Set your timer for 4 minutes.
When the egg is cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon and place the slotted spoon (with the egg still on top) onto some kitchen towel for a few seconds just to absorb some of the excess water.
Serve with this Super Simple Hollandaise sauce and preen at your kitcheny awesomeness.
- If you see bubbles starting to form in your egg white (or on the bottom of the pan) your water is too hot!
- If your poached eggs look like watery fried eggs, your eggs aren’t fresh enough.
I hope you have found this post useful and will try to make some poached eggs yourself! Let me know how it goes.
Have a lovely day