I’ve gotten into poached eggs lately. A typical breakfast for me is two eggs with some sort of carb – usually either an english muffin or a bagel. My preferred way to prepare it is over-easy (so the yolk is nice and runny) served over a lightly toasted english muffin or bagel. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll scramble the egg or add a grapefruit to the mix. I know, it’s out there.
But after I caught an episode of The Mind of a Chef on PBS where they were doing a ton of experiments with poaching eggs, I got curious and decided I needed to broaden my egg horizon. After some preliminary research, while eating cookies, I decided to embark on operation PPE (Perfect Poached Egg).
Gear: eggs, water, sauce pan, salt, pepper, slotted spoon, vinegar, stove.
Note: when I refer to boiling water, I always mean I’ve brought the water to boiling and removed from the heat before I add the egg. Adding the egg to boiling water can cause the egg to break apart…who would have thought bubbles could destroy an egg?
Another Note: poached eggs are rather tasteless. I would recommend salting the water as well as adding salt and pepper to the egg when serving.
Third Note: All of my poached eggs are served over homemade banana bread.
A Final Note: I like notes.
Perfect Poached Egg Round 1 (in photo on left): Pure and Simple. Crack an egg into a bowl. Add egg to boiling water. Cook 4 minutes.
Perfect Poached Egg Round 2 (in photo on right): Water Vortex. Crack an egg into a bowl. Using a spoon, stir water in a circular pattern until spinning. Add egg to spinning boiling water. Cook 4 minutes.
Perfect Poached Egg Round 3 (no photo): Vinegar Bath. Crack an egg into a bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar and let soak for 3-5 minutes. Add egg to boiling water. Cook 4 minutes.
Perfect Poached Egg Round 4: Vinegar Bath Vortex. Crack an egg into a bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar and let soak for 3-5 minutes. Using a spoon, stir water in a circular pattern until spinning. Add egg to boiling water. Cook 4 minutes.
Perfect Poached Egg Round 5: So You Like It Scrambled? Crack an egg into a bowl & lightly beat. Using a spoon, stir water in a circular pattern until spinning. Add egg to boiling water. Cook 2.5 minutes.
Conclusion: In the end, the best result came from Round 4: The Vinegar Bath Vortex. This method produced an egg that had the whites gather around the yolk in a spherical way rather than flatten out. It also creates a much nicer presentation if handled carefully. If you’re curious about the vinegar, it helps keep the white of the egg together and I found it also helps the egg white cook around the yolk, rather than spreading out too far. You’ll notice that all my eggs were cooked for 4 minutes (except the scrambled version) since that is the perfect time to give you a cooked egg but leaves the yolk runny – which I love. If you like a solid yolk, cook the egg for 5 minutes.
Maybe you’re the scrambled type. A poached scrambled egg yields a very similar look to a regular scrambled egg, but is much more fluffy in texture. It is a great alternative to try if you always eat your eggs scrambled. However, this version cooks much faster so you only need to give it about 2.5 minutes in the boiling water.
If you’ve never had poached eggs, get on board baby – they’re so in. If you have had them, maybe you have another method I haven’t tried. If so, please share, I’m always looking to eggsperiment (see what I did there?!?).