Easy Way to Poach an Egg

Easy Way to Poach an Egg

Poached eggs are white whales for cooks of all experience levels. Everyone’s got their pet method—Strain off the excess whites!  Add some vinegar to the water! Make a water vortex!—but none of these solutions simplify the process. Complicated, overly-fussy methods stand in stark contrast to the perfect simplicity of poached eggs in my view. So, Here is an Easy Way to Poach an Egg.

I’ve been poaching eggs for a decade or more with great results, but I’m not exaggerating when I say this process changed my life. It’s short, simple, and reproducible, which is exactly what I need for my first meal of the day. Here’s how to do it.

Bring two to three inches of water to a skillet or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid bring to a simmer over high heat.

Gently crack fridge-cold eggs into the simmering water one at a time—or into a ramekin/teacup/soup container first, if you like—then put on the lid and turn off the heat. 

Remove the lid after three minutes and check your eggs. Large eggs will be almost done; jumbo eggs can need an additional minute or two.

Butter the toast generously, then fold a paper towel (or a clean cloth kitchen towel) over on itself a few times. Remove each egg from the skillet with a slotted spoon and blot any excess water with a paper towel.

Place the eggs on buttered toast or on a plate. Serve with salt and pepper, because hot sauce is for fried eggs.

This method’s simplicity should be enough to encourage you to give this a try. To begin with, it completely dispenses with those shitty, wispy bits of egg white that make for ugly poaches—they sink to the bottom and fall clean off the rest of the white when you scoop out the eggs. By pushing the spoon against the side of the skillet, any remaining stragglers can be neatly cut off.

Easy Way to Poach an Egg

Second, cooking the eggs in completely still water denatures the egg white proteins steadily and evenly, rather than aggressively and all at once as you’d get with a continuous simmer. This stops the whites from sticking to the sides and bottom of the goddamn skillet, so cleanup is so much easier.

Third, this method makes scaling a cinch. If you’re hosting a big brunch and are dead-set on eggs Benedict, just use more water and a bigger pan—and plan on cracking the eggs into a pourable vessel before adding them to the water.

As with all egg cookery, change the temperature and duration as required to suit your taste. I like a poached egg with a completely set white and a jammy yolk, so starting from a strong simmer works perfectly. However, if you’re craving a more classic poached egg situation—firm whites, fully liquid yolks—bring that water all the way to a roiling boil, crack in your eggs, then cover the pan and cut the heat. They’ll cook a bit faster, so check in after two minutes.

This is the most Easy Way to Poach an Egg.

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