The Perfect Poach

Once upon a time I was a boring old “scrambled eggs with ketchup and plain toast” kind of girl. I never branched out much when it came to breakfast. Occasionally I would spring for a side of bacon but most of the time I kept it pretty basic. Maybe what they say about your taste buds changing every seven years is true, or maybe I’ve been drinking too much of the water here in San Francisco, whatever the reason its safe to say my pallet has begun to drastically change. On that pallet these days: poached eggs.

I was convinced only trained chefs and magicians were able to bring the perfect poach to fruition, until I finally achieved my own poaching enlightenment…and it was glorious. It also wasn’t nearly as hard as I had built it up to be in my head. It was actually pretty easy once I got it down.

First, you will need eggs, a large stock pot, kosher salt, white vinegar, and a slotted spoon. Someone once told me that the taller and narrower the pot, the better the poach. I have yet to test that theory as I only have access to limited sizes of stock pots. Fill pot with water and bring to boil.

While you’re waiting for water to boil crack eggs into individual bowls. I find tea cups work best.

Once the water is boiling add about a handful of kosher salt and enough white vinegar “to taste.” The salt and the vinegar allow the whites to coagulate and keep from fanning out. I once asked a chef what his secret to a perfect poach, to which he responded “you need enough vinegar to taste and I’m a strong believer that you can never use too much salt.” I’ve found that this means when you test the water-safely without burning yourself- it should taste a bit salty but mostly like vinegar. (Think about 1/4 – 1/2 cup vinegar depending on amount of water)

Stir water in circular motion until it is able to spin on its own. Take the bowl/tea cup and drop eggs directly in the center of the spin. Cover the stock pot, completely remove from heat, and set a timer for about 3 minutes, but set it for like 2:45 so you don’t miss that window of opportunity.

After three minutes (MAAAYBE a few seconds less) the eggs should be floating in near perfect tear drops. Using the slotted spoon carefully remove from water.

Enjoy with your favorite sides, or on an English muffin with bacon and topped with hollandaise sauce- but thats a post for another day.

Happy Poaching!



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