The Edible Complex

The Edible Complex

blundering my way through cooking & plate presentation

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The Secret To Perfectly Poached Eggs

February 18, 2011


Poaching isn’t hard.  Poaching THE HARD WAY is.  Let’s poach the easy way!

There are 4 secrets to this:

1) Room-temperature eggs.

Poaching is basically a race against time.  You want to get the eggs to a congealing temperature before they spread out, so why start at a negative temperature.  Warm your huevos overnight (or against your body when no one is looking)

2) Shallow Pan.

You don’t need depth to poach an egg.  In fact it’s worse because when the egg jumps into the deep end, the more it moves the more it falls apart.  I know you see Julia Child and all those chefs glibly dumping an egg into boiling water like they’re torturing it for secrets, but fuck that!  A 2-inch deep pan like what you would simmer sloppy joe mix in works perfectly.

3) Vinegar or Lemon Juice

The acids in vinegar & lemon juice work on the protein in the whites to keep it contained and congeal faster.  I use 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Apple Cider Vinegar works best, I’ve found, but does taint the egg.

4) Don’t disturb the water.

Break your egg with a knife on the counter.  Breaking it against the pan disrupts the water, making your eggs rock back and forth, disturbing their shapes a bit.

With all that done, as you release the egg from it’s shell, do so right at the water’s edge (I know it’s hot. don’t be a pussy) and simply slip the egg in the water like you’d get into a hot tub.

Bag Method

An even easier method is to contain them in something.  There are great items you can buy for this, but the easiest method is to bundle them in saran wrap.  When you unwrap them, they look like dumplings!


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