Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Poaching Eggs: a Few Tips and Pics

The poached eggs were so delicious yesterday that we had them, exactly the same, this morning as well.  This time, however, I snapped a few pics to help explicate the process.  As I mentioned last yesterday, poaching eggs directly in water (as opposed to in using an egg poacher) can be a little intimidating.  I was nervous the first time I tried it, but I was surprised to find how easy it really was.

The color of an egg yolk is from the xanthophy...Image via Wikipedia
Eggs are an excellent way to get protein in a vegetarian, or partially vegetarian diet (sorry vegans).  Egg yolks contain some important vitamins (like biotin) which are not found in many other foods, and almost no vegetables.  This makes eggs an excellent addition to your diet no matter what diet you are on.

First of all, you should select the freshest eggs you can find, as fresh eggs coagulate better and less fresh eggs tend to dissipate in the water.  Since it is hard to tell when a supermarket egg was collected, I recommend buying from a Farmer's Market or local farm, as they can tell you exactly how fresh the eggs are.  Fresh, organic eggs are more expensive, so this is a special treat for anyone who isn't raising their own chickens.

First, fill a large frying pan and a smaller pan with water, about 2 inches deep.  Bring them both to a very low boil.  Add a little vinegar to the large pan, as the acid will help the encourage the eggs to stay together while cooking.  Add a little salt to the small pan, and turn it down to a simmer.  This second pan is just a bath to rinse the vinegar and add a little salt when the eggs are done cooking.

When the two pans of water are ready, start the eggs one at a time like so:

  • Crack the egg onto a small saucer
  • Slide the egg into the acidified water, with the saucer as close as possible to the surface of the water
  • Using a slotted spoon, gently roll the white around the yolk as the white hardens
  • Repeat, until up to four eggs are in the water
By the time you done with the fourth egg, the first will be just about done.  Test it by lifting it gently out of the water with the slotted spoon, and see how much the white giggles.  It should have just a tiny bit of give, the yolk should be still liquid, and the white should be almost entirely solid.

When the eggs are done, gently lift them out of the acidified water and drop them briefly into the salted water, then transfer them to a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin.  Serve before the eggs cool, on buttered toast or muffin, or as your favorite variation of eggs benedict.

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