We’ve all been there, you order what you thought would be a perfectly formed poached egg, with a glossy liquid yolk that pours out like liquid gold. Only to be presented with what can be described as some sort of horrific cross between a boiled and fried egg.

What we want is a poached egg that is plump and almost egg shaped, instead of a flat and wispy monstrosity. Well if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!

The secret to poached eggs is that there really isn’t any secret! Just the freshest eggs you can get, white wine vinegar, boiling water and a gentle touch!

No whisking a giant whirlpool in a pan here! This is where a lot of people make mistakes, making this whirlpool can be too powerful and can end up damaging the egg, bouncing it from side to side of the pan.

We just want to gently stir the water to create a small vortex in the pan, just enough to keep the eggs in place and hold their natural shape as they poach.

No more flat excuses for poached eggs! Trust me, after this you’ll know how to poach an egg like a pro, perfectly, every time!

— Al Brady


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INGREDIENTS

eggs, as fresh as possible
200ml white wine vinegar
water, enough to fill a pan


METHOD

The first thing you need is a really fresh egg. Fresh eggs have tighter whites and yolks that help them retain their shape better as they cook. Crack the each egg into separate bowls and put to one side.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the white wine vinegar to the water. Don’t make the mistake of adding salt to the water though. It can break down egg white, causing the poached egg to lose its structure and become excessively wispy.

While the pan is boiling, gently stir the water in one direction to create a gentle whirlpool or vortex in the pan. This is where a lot of people make mistakes, making this whirlpool too powerful can end up damaging the egg, bouncing it from side to side of the pan.

Once you’ve created your whirlpool, lower the bowl gently into the centre of the vortex and allow some of the vinegar water to flood the bowl. This will help begin to set the shape of your egg. Then carefully tip the egg out into the pan and carefully simmer the egg for 3 minutes, making sure to not let the water come to a boil.

Once the egg is cooked, scoop it out of the water and serve straight away or plunge into ice water to refresh. They can be stored for up to 2 days in cold water, to help protect the shape, and reheated in warm water.


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