Monday, December 15, 2008

The quest for poached egg perfection.

Recently, Ben in Australia (who I did not meet in September because I had not yet made his acquaintance in the blogosphere at the time...) wrote a post about his poached egg conundrum. He's taken a fancy to them, but has not figured out how to achieve a nice consistent result with his cooking method. When I mentioned my egg poacher, he said he would like to see it in action. And so I present "The Quest for Poached Egg Perfection, a Pictorial Demonstration".

Here is the egg poacher. This device was created for the sole purpose of making poached eggs. The cups hold one egg each. The legs hold the eggs out of the water and no precious egg white is lost.

The first step is to lightly oil the egg poacher and place it into a pan with some water.

Notice that the poacher will hold three eggs, which generally compels me to make three poached eggs at a time even though no one person should really consume three eggs at a time. So for the purpose of this demonstration, I restrained myself and left one egg cup vacant.

Next, the lid is place on the pan so that steam will be retained. I generally cook them on medium heat since the food channel shows always cook eggs on medium heat. I'm not sure it makes any difference in this case since water boils at the same temp no matter what the heat is under it...

While the water is coming to a boil, one has time to prepare the toast. Now, don't think me strange, but I have a very specific technique for my poached egg toast. It must be cut into squares before receiving the eggs. I'll explain the reason a bit later in the process.

It is very important to STAY IN THE ROOM where the eggs are poaching. It is very hazardous to leave and PLAY FACEBOOK GAMES while eggs are poaching. It tends to result in the very disappointing overcooked egg. To test for doneness, check the whites with a fork. When the white are fully cooked but the yolk is still runny, they are perfectly cooked.

The extraction of the eggs from the poacher is not explained in the user manual of the egg poacher. I had to learn by trial and error that a knife inserted into one of the slots on the top allows you to suspend the entire device over the toast and then a fork can be used to gently dislodge the eggs. We're almost done.
The whole point of the runny yolk is for it to soak into the toast - ideally, there should be yolk in every bite since it's the best part. This is the reason for precutting the toast. As soon as the eggs are cut, you can mix the whole mess together. Perfection!

9 comments:

Martha said...

I love poached eggs! My mom never had a poacher, instead she cracked them gently into already boiling salted water. She always made perfect poached eggs. (At least that's how I remember them.) Mine usually stick to the bottom of the pan instead. You are giving me a hankoring for some perfect poached eggs on toast. With a glass of orange juice too.

FayeJ said...

yum

FayeJ said...

but...why shouldn't one person eat 3 eggs at a time?????

Tracy said...

Martha - poached eggs are a major comfort food for me. When I was a kid, they were one of the first 'getting better' foods my mom gave me when I had been sick.

I was the one who started cutting the toast into squares, now my mom does this all the time when making poached eggs for others. It cracked me up when my niece came to visit me, I made poached eggs and she said, "can you cut up the toast like grandma does?"

Faye - that darn cholesterol...

Priscilla said...

I enjoy poached eggs. Just made some for Alicia last week. Never tried an egg poacher...maybe I ought to.

kristina said...

Looks like quite an ordeal. I have never had a poached egg because I don't like runny yoke.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks for the demo, Tracy:) Very thorough. I was a little saddened to see the third egg spot left vacant though. It looked a bit lonely.

I like your precutting of the toast technique. If something's worth doing, it's worth doing properly.

Gmj said...

Poached eggs are good and this was very informative, now I know how to get the hateful poacher thing out of the water! i cook them like Martha's mom. I create a whirl pool effect and drop the egg in the middle. the only way I eat them anymore is eggs benedict.. whoa.. to much cholesterol? :D

Rachel said...

Yummy, I love poached eggs on toast! I always make them just like my mom did (as Martha described), but I'm not against trying a poacher. I think I know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow.