How To: Make Poached Egg

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Have I ever confessed to you about my love for egg dishes in all shapes and forms?

I’ve always dreamed of hosting a brunch party, serving up a delectable spread of breakfast baked goods, homemade jams and preserves, and hot egg dishes like fluffy omelets and scrambled eggs. That plan has not yet materialized because of one pretty major problem: I’m not good at cooking eggs. Which explains why there is not a single egg dish on here.

Although I’m not good at making fancy egg dishes, I am proud to say that I can make a poached egg without fail, every time. The only hitch thus far has been that it took me about ten tries to figure out how to cook it properly and consistently. Those trial runs, my friend, are totally worth it because I nailed it on the eleventh try. And the twelfth. And every single time since then! The white is cooked just enough so that the center is warm and still runny when you poke your fork into it as you eat. I love to put a poached egg on anything and everything: potato hash, pasta, roasted asparagus, or simply a piece of toast.

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I think it goes without saying that- in my opinion- this is the easiest egg dish to make. Yes, you read my mind.

Okay, let’s begin, shall we?

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Fill a pot with water until it comes up to about three-quarter of the way. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar (it helps the egg white coagulate). Let it come to a full boil.

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Crack an egg into a small bowl as you wait for the water to boil. I like to use jumbo-sized eggs because of the egg white to yolk ratio. And the more egg whites, the lower likelihood that your poached egg will break when it is being transferred from the pot, to the plate, and to your mouth. In that order.

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Once it does, lower the heat to a bare simmer until all of the bubbles subside and gently pour the egg into the water. You want to do it slowly so that the egg white gathers around the yolk as it is submerged in the water. At this point, the egg should be floating in the water. If it is sticking to the bottom of the pan, your pan is either too shallow for poaching eggs, or you need to fill the pot with more water, or both (unfortunately).

Set the timer for four minutes and wait patiently. Patience is the key here. Don’t poke or prod it! Just wait and let it do its thing.

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When the time is up, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to soak up the excess moisture. Trim the loose bits and pieces of egg white (totally optional, I do it just because of my crazy perfectionist tendencies), transfer it to the serving plate, and top it with some salt and pepper. Or hollandaise sauce if you’re in the mood for Eggs Benedict.

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Finally, poke into your perfectly poached egg with a fork and admire the runny yolk as it seeps into the bread and onto your plate. And then take out your phone to Instagram it. Just joking. Go ahead, dig in, and enjoy!

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*Some instructions will tell you to heat the water until it reaches a simmer, but since “simmer” covers a wide range of temperature, the best way for me to gauge whether it is simmering is to bring it to a boil, and then turn the heat down so that it is no longer boiling.

*I don’t use the whirlpool method because I’m a bit accident-prone, especially when I’m told to stir hot water vigorously into a fury.

*In case you want to make it for a group of people, you can keep a bowl of hot (not boiling) water nearby to keep the poached eggs in until you’re ready to serve.

*The egg I used here was directly from the refrigerator, so it took four minutes of cooking. If you’re poaching an egg that is at room temperature, it should take you less than four minutes. Also, if you’re using a smaller egg, your cooking time should be shortened as well.

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