- Crack the eggs into a bowl and remove the thinner parts, if there are any.
- Pour about 4 inches of water into the pot and bring to simmer.
- Pour vinegar into the water.
- Slide the eggs into the water.
- Poach them for about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the kitchen paper.
Poached eggs are often the best choice for breakfast!
There are many ways of preparing eggs, like boiling or simmering. However, to poach an egg means to cook it outside the shell, either by poaching it or even steaming it.
This way of preparing eggs is more delicate than boiling an egg. Boiling is done at a higher temperature, and the eggs stay in the shell while cooking.
In general, the eggs are a low-calorie food (a large one is about 78 calories) that is rich in protein (6g per egg) and other nutrients (zeaxanthin, vitamin D, choline, and lutein).
They are good for people who are trying to lose weight, and not only because they are low in calories. They are also extremely fulfilling and boost your metabolism. And you can bake, boil, scramble, or poach them, or make them into a delicious omelette.
The usual way of poaching an egg
To put it simply, poaching an egg means cooking it at a lower temperature of about 165 degrees until the egg white becomes solid, but the egg yolk stays soft and liquid.
Ideally, the egg white will have no soft parts. When you crack the egg into the bowl and slide it into the above-mentioned temperature of the water, the yolk and the egg white will stay together.
However, almost every egg white has some parts that are more liquid than others. And when you pour it into the water, it will inevitably turn into foam.
For that reason, you need to strain the egg from the thinner liquid before cooking. Some people use vinegar to prevent that. You need to put vinegar into the water to smooth the poaching.
The confusion about egg poaching and steaming in an egg poacher
We made it clear that egg poaching means cooking the egg without the shell in the water at a lower temperature. Now, there is a device called the egg poacher, but it doesn’t actually poach the eggs. It steams the eggs, but it is called an egg poacher.
This cooking device has a pan that you fill with water and make it simmer. Over the pan, there are containers with holes in them. This is where you pour the eggs without shells.
There is an additional lid over the egg container that keeps the steam in the device.
The water under the eggs simmers while it steams them. These types of eggs are usually firm and oiled or buttered for easier removal from the containers.
However, the best way to make poached eggs is in the pot, frying pan, or saucepan. The reason for it is that the egg poachers take more time to poach the egg and as a result, you get a more rubbery egg white.
There are records that indicate that poaching was the technique used in ancient times to prepare food.
In 1894, New York chef Charles Ranhofer published “The Epicurean“, a cookbook that contained various recipes for preparing poached food, including poached eggs.
Years after that, Charles Ranhofer came up with different recipes that included poached eggs, alongside various ingredients like sweet peppers, tomato sauce, croutons, slices of ham, mushrooms, etc.
The poaching temperature is between 160 and 180 degrees and it should always be a bit lower than a simmer, which is about 185 degrees.
However, not only water is suitable for poaching. You can use other flavors like bouillon, vegetable juices, and add spices, herbs, zests, etc.
Different dishes that contain poached eggs
Some people prefer to eat poached eggs on their own. However, the poached eggs are usually part of other dishes. The most popular are:
- Eggs Benedict – an open sandwich or an English muffin cut in half, poached eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce.
- Italian poached eggs – olive oil or butter, grated Parmigiano, and poached eggs.
- Eggs Sardou – artichoke bottoms, hollandaise sauce, cream spinach, and poached eggs.
- Shakshouka (North Africa) – poaching in tomato sauce, usually spicy.
- Eggs St. Charles – fried trout, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce.
- Eggs Hussarde – Holland rusks, poached eggs, bacon, and bordelaise sauce.
- Egg soup (Colombian Changua) – poaching eggs in coriander or scallion broth and milk.
Poached eggs in the microwave
You can make poached eggs in the microwave. All you need to do is to fill a teacup with a half a cup of water. Pour the egg in the water, and cover with a small plate or saucer.
Cook on high in the microwave for about 1 minute. And, as usual, take it out with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, and place it on the plate.
Tips on how to make the perfect poached eggs
Check if the eggs are fresh
You can make the best poached eggs only if the eggs are fresh.
There are a couple of indicators if the egg is fresh or not. If the egg white is thicker around the yolk, they will stick together when they are poached and, therefore, have a nicer looking shape.
When it comes to the egg freshness check, there is the water trick. Take an egg and put it in a glass full of water. The fresh egg will lay at the bottom, horizontally. The egg that is less fresh will float or move to the end.
But don’t worry, you can poach even the eggs that are not so fresh. As we mentioned at the beginning, you can always drain all the thinner parts of the egg white, so it doesn’t create foam while poaching.
Don’t salt the water
Adding salt to the water could do exactly the opposite of what you want to do. It can create more foam, and you are trying to avoid that. As a result, you will get not so great looking eggs.
You can add vinegar if you want to avoid foam
Don’t worry, one spoon of light color vinegar won’t affect the taste or the color of the eggs. And your eggs will come out beautiful.
Swirling a Vortex (Whirlpool)
There is a method of making poached eggs in the swirling vortex which will give them a nice shape. The reason for it is that the egg will kind of wrap around itself.
The trick is, you can use a swirling vortex for only one egg. Or you can cook one egg at a time. If you put more than one egg at the same time, you will not get good results.
Use the fine-mesh sieve to strain all the thin parts
This way, you will remove the liquid parts of the egg white and avoid the foam while poaching. When the eggs are done, there will be firm egg whites around soft yolk.
Don’t use shallow pots
When poaching eggs, the goal is to get a teardrop or spherical shape of the eggs. When you are poaching in the shallow spots, the eggs will be flatter. On the other hand, if you use deeper pots (about 4 inches deep) you will be able to achieve the desired shape.
Crack the egg into a bowl first
Some people crack the egg directly into the water, which is wrong for a couple of reasons.
First of all, you need to check the state of the yolk, if it is broken or not.
Second of all, you need to check if there are small parts of the shell in it and remove it.
Third of all, you must remove the thinner parts, if there are any.
And finally, you can easily and smoothly slide the egg into the water.
Once you place the eggs into the water, it takes about three to four minutes for eggs to be done. Once they are done, take a slotted spoon, drain on the kitchen paper, and serve.
Poached eggs on toast with avocado, sweet potato, cucumber, and smoked salmon
Eggs are great because you can make them in lots of different ways. This delicious recipe has salmon, sweet potato, cucumber, and avocado.
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 eggs
- 1 cucumber – sliced
- 5 oz smoked salmon
- 1 avocado – sliced
- 1/2 tbsp of vinegar
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- dill – chopped
Prepare the sweet potato in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Cut the sweet potato into long slices
- Oil the potato slices and put them on the baking sheet
- Cook for about 30 minutes
Poach the eggs
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and remove the thinner parts, if there are any
- Pour about 4 inches of water into the pot and bring to simmer
- Pour vinegar into the water
- Slide the eggs into the water
- Poach them for about 3-4 minutes
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the kitchen paper
Put all pieces together
- Place the toast and then sweet potato on the plate
- Put the sliced cucumber, sliced avocado, and smoked salmon on the potatoes
- Top with poached eggs
- Garnish with salt, pepper, and dill