Whichever way you choose to do something there always seems to be another 6 million ways to do it – hence the inspiration for the title. I’ve poached eggs a number of ways over the years, some resulting in nothing short of excellent and others consigned to the dog bowl – don’t have a dog by the way. Ultimately I have decided to choose one way to poach eggs at home and this fantastic method is it. What you need to look for in a great poached egg is a nice shape, all the egg white has set and the yolk is warm and runny. The method in this video promotes all three. In addition to the instructions in the video, here are some more tips and info – some of it gets quite serious I’ll have you know:
◎ The water has to retain its heat when the egg is added. Therefore, if you are doing two or more eggs at once then use a large wide pan and/ or a greater depth of water; sometimes it might seem like over-kill but it’s really important.
◎ The vinegar interacts with the egg white (albumin) promoting protein coagulation which effectively helps to set the outside of the egg white. The level of vinegar should be at about 1% – that is 10ml (2 tsp.) for every 1 litre of water.
◎ If you are not serving the eggs immediately then place them into ice cold water to stop any further cooking. The eggs can then be held there, or in a fridge if reserving for a day or so. To warm, place them in barely simmering water for 30-45 seconds, drain and serve.
◎ The fresher the egg the better. As an egg ages the white becomes watery and this is what causes those errant strands to form when the egg is poaching (the stuff that is trimmed).
◎ In a pro kitchen poached eggs are usually cooked in a large stock pot of boiling water (with vinegar and salt) – the eggs are cracked into the water and disappear into the depths; when ready they float to the surface. The vinegar (acid) reacts with the natural bicarbonate (alkali) in the egg white forming carbon dioxide bubbles which get trapped at the egg’s surface giving it a buoyancy – mmm… that’s surely a good reason to do another video. This is a great method when a lot of eggs need to be poached at one time.
◎ Salt in the water – according to the legend that is food writer and scientist Harold McGee, salt and acidity (vinegar) cause an egg to firm up. There is a common misnomer that salt hinders the setting of the white. Both through experimentation and lack of any scientific evidence (and I’m always happy to be taught otherwise) I would confirm that the addition of salt does not have any detrimental effect on the poaching of an egg.