How to make the perfect poached egg

Chicago TribuneMay 13, 2014 

Julia Child offered to teach me to poach an egg. And I declined. I had my reasons; I was in labor. But I regret the opportunity missed.

I know how it’s supposed to work: the steaming water, the splash of vinegar, the swirling vortex. Nonetheless, I end up with something that looks like a supernova, surrounded by nebulae. A mess.

I daydream of smoked salmon Benedict smothered in hollandaise and achieve a nightmare of egg strands.

So this year, I decided to try something different: Learn. I opened a big reference book and peered at it anxiously while my teens rolled their eyes. They sighed: Try YouTube.

There I found a new technique, involving a fine mesh strainer. Which worked. The strainer drains off pre-straggle. And it makes egg handling easy.

That’s the thing about motherhood: It’s always an education.

Poached Egg

1 fresh egg

1 tablespoon vinegar (white, wine or cider)

CALIBRATE: Fill a large saucepan with water. Add vinegar. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Then lower to less than a simmer: Tiny bubbles will be visible on the bottom of the pan, but none will break the surface of the water.

STRAIN: Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Crack in the egg. Gently rock the sieve back and forth – some white may seep through.

POACH: Lower the sieve into the water. Rock the sieve back and forth a couple of times. Tip out egg; remove sieve. Let egg poach 4 minutes, turning once with a soft spatula.

DRAIN: Use a slotted spoon to scoop out egg. Set on a clean kitchen towel to dry, briefly. Serve at once or hold in a bowl of warm water up to 30 minutes.

SERVE: Nice on a buttered English muffin half, perhaps with a strip of smoked salmon underneath and a spoonful of hollandaise on top.

YIELD: 1 serving.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service