How to Poach an Egg

Many of us cooks, including me, has been frustrated by the seemingly simple and straightforward task of poaching an egg. Hopefully, you have already seen your mistake. Most egg poaching disasters can be averted by keeping the water below a simmer. 

  • Bring 3 inches of water and a splash of vinegar to about 170 degrees, F. 
  • Look carefully at the bottom of the pan. There should be small bubbles all over it, but they should not be rising to the top and breaking. 
  • Crack an egg into a small cup. 
  • Lower the egg—cup and all—into the water in the center of the pan. 
  • Tip the cup to let the egg slide out gently. If any errant strings of white try to swirl away from the egg, gently push them back with a heat-resistant spatula or a spoon. 
  • Let the egg gently poach for about 4-5 minutes, depending on how done you like your eggs. 
  • “Jiggle” the egg with your spoon. The white should be fairly firm, but the yolk should still shimmy. 
  • Remove the egg with a slotted spoon, and let it drain on some paper towels. 
  • Serve on buttered toast, or get fancy and make Eggs Benedict. A lovely way to serve a poached egg at dinner is to make a salad with a fairly acidic dressing. Perch the warm poached egg atop the salad and break the yolk. The rich yolk will blend with and become part of the dressing. Wonderful!

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