Cooktop Cove: Make perfect poached eggs every time when you master these 5 tips
Poached eggs can bring a sophisticated look to any dish, not to mention that they're also delicious and healthy. While it's true that to poach an egg, the egg needs to be placed into very hot water, poached eggs should never be boiled. If the water is boiling for the entire cook time, poached eggs will be doomed from the start.
Unfortunately, that's not the only thing that can go wrong with poached eggs. The yolks can break in the water, or the whites can spread out resulting in a yolk covered in a bit of white and lots of scraps of egg whites floating in the pan. So how do you fix those mistakes? Follow the five tips below.
1. Use fresh eggs
If you don't use fresh eggs when poaching, the yolks will most likely break when they are in the pan and the dish will be ruined. Eggs are fresh if you can tell the difference between the thin part of the white that's almost translucent and the thick part of the white that's a bit cloudier. You can use the easier method to determine if the eggs are fresh without even breaking them open. Fill a glass with water and drop the egg in with its shell still on. If it sinks to the bottom, it's fresh. If it floats even halfway up, the egg is likely still safe to eat but should not be used for poach eggs. If it floats to the top, it may not be safe to eat and should be thrown out.
2. Do not crack eggs right into the pan
Cracking eggs right into a pan can be difficult, as there are many things that can go wrong when you do. The yolk can break, shell can get into the pan, and in some cases, the egg can even fall out onto the counter before it even reaches the pan. Instead, crack eggs into a ramekin or custard cup before gently tipping them into the water.
3. Bring the water to a boil and create a whirlpool
While poached eggs shouldn't be boiled during their entire cook time, the water does have to start off as boiling. Place water into a saucepan that can hold at least three inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add a couple drops of vinegar or lemon juice; this will help hold the whites together. Then, use a large spoon to swirl the water so that it resembles a whirlpool and gently tip the eggs in while it's still swirling. This whirlpool will help the egg whites to wrap around the yolk, creating that cute little pocket often served in restaurants. In addition to creating a nice presentation, the whirlpool will also help bind the whites to the yolk so they don't float around the pan.
4. Take the pan off the heat and cover
If the pan is left on the heat at this point, the eggs will boil and become weird hard-boiled eggs with no shell. To prevent this, remove the pan from the heat as soon as the eggs are placed into the water and cover it. The water will be hot enough to poach the eggs and cook them to your liking. If you like eggs that are firmer and not very runny, cook them for 7 to 8 minutes. If you like softer poached eggs that are very runny, leave them in the pan for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon
Once the eggs are perfectly poached, they need to be removed gently from the pan. But if you do this with a spoon, you'll also take some of that water which will create a pool on the plate and make them unappetizing (not to mention watering down your toast, salad, or whatever else you're serving the poached eggs with.) Instead, use a slotted spoon so the water can drip away from the eggs when they're removed. If possible, use a plastic slotted spoon as it will be more gentle and less likely to break the egg than one that's metal.
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