Thursday, 19 August 2010

Poached Eggs

I was always intimidated by the technique of poaching eggs but I am happy to say after a couple attempts I think I've cracked it (yes, pun intended!)


Poached eggs:

Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle simmer (I used a pot with about 1 litre capacity). Some people opt to add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water but I tried both ways and it didn't really make much of a difference taste or texture wise to me.

Break a fresh egg into a glass and set it aside.

With a wooden spoon swirl the simmering water until a whirlpool forms. Pour the egg from the glass quickly into the very centre of the whirlpool and leave it alone. 

"Leave it alone?!?" I hear you saying, "but everyone always said to put the whites over the yolk and to agitate it!" 

Well, I say: "leave it alone and it'll take care of itself". That's right, the momentum of the swirling water takes care of it and it swirls into itself and creates a perfectly poached egg. 

After about 2 minutes or so (depending on so many factors - just practice until you get it right and note down how long it took to cook to perfection), take it out of the water with a slotted spoon. 

You can use the same water to poach as many eggs as you want, however I recommend my technique to handle only one at a time. I've not tried it with multiple eggs at once but I'm sure they would morph together into some giant multi-yolked abomination. Tasty, but not very elegant.


It's ready to eat however you want to; on top of a salad "Lyonnais" style or with hollandaise sauce as seen in the picture, which is traditional.

Poached eggs are traditionally eaten when the yolk is runny and the whites have just set. It's a good tradition! I like mine with lightly buttered sourdough toast and a good spoonful of hollandaise.

For easy Hollandaise:

Enough for two servings

50g butter (salted or unsalted - just taste before you add extra salt if using salted butter)
2 egg yolks (organic or free range preferred)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon hot water
salt, to taste

Try to have all the ingredients at room temperature. It makes things thicken easier and avoids the whole thing separating.

Bring a small amount of water to the boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave (about 20-30 seconds or so). 

In a separate bowl whisk 2 egg yolks with a bit of salt (if using unsalted butter) and about a tablespoon of hot water and a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Put this on top of the saucepan of boiling water (bain-marie style). While whisking, pour the melted butter in slowly and whisk away until it's thick and creamy.

Don't leave it alone and keep an eye on the heat; you don't want to scramble it. When it's thick and creamy and hollandaise-sauce-looking, take it off the heat immediately and serve straight away. This sauce is also good over asparagus and is called "Eggs Benedict" when served with poached eggs.

Bon App├ętit!

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