Truth be told, I have always been too terrified to try poaching eggs at home. I would much rather take myself out for breakfast when I KNOW the eggs will be poached to perfection, served hot on toast, alongside a cup of great coffee.
But the last few times I’ve relied on a great egg breakfast, I’ve been let down: eggs have come out cold, or not cooked properly (ew to the still-runny egg white…) or it hasn’t been poached at all! And while I love a good scram, sometimes only poached will do.
So I had a crack at home poaching. If you’ve ever googled ‘How to poach an egg’, you’ll know that there are about 8,000 different ways to do this ‘perfectly’. Add vinegar to a swirling whirlpool and crack your egg in fast; add your egg slowly to a pot of rapidly boiling salted water; leave it be; shape it with a spoon; wrap it in gladwrap. It’s confusing. And you end up with a lot of below-par breakfasts...
Bring a small saucepan (not a fry pan!) of water to the boil over a high heat. Lower the heat, then bring the water back to a low simmer. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the water and give it a little stir (this helps keep the egg white together).
Crack your egg into a small bowl or cup. HOT TIP: use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on, as old eggs tend not to poach well. Gently lower the cup into the simmering water and slowly tip out the egg. If any bits of the white start to wisp away, you can gently push them back into place using a slotted spoon.
Four minutes later, VOILA! A just-right poached egg, with a gooey, runny yolk. Remove it from the saucepan with a slotted spoon, blot it dry on a paper towel and serve immediately on toast with a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. If you like your eggs a little firmer in the middle, let it poach for a little longer.
Thanks so much to The Kitchn for this simple technique, and thanks also to all those cafes for letting me down. Without you, I never would have learnt how easy eggs can be.