14 In Brunch

Poached Egg

Poached EggBefore our whole vegetarian/ethical/healthy-eating thing came about, we started learning that real food tastes great – and we started seeking out how to make it ourselves (because you can’t afford R Bistro every night…). In a moment of inspiration, a friend of ours shared her well-worn Julia cookbook with us, and the rest is history. A lot of what we know about cooking today came from an obsession with reading that book and watching Julia Child DVDs a few years ago.

One of the best lessons Julia taught us was that you can make a meal out of any dish just by adding an egg to it. Salad + egg = meal. Potato + egg = meal. Etcetera, etcetera. Poaching was Julia’s favorite preparation, as she said that they are the “purest and loveliest of ways to cook eggs”. It took a while to convince me, but when you get the method down, they turn out perfect every time. A creamy poached egg on top of fresh greens makes about the best salad ever.

In a twist of irony though, we’ve found Julia’s recipe a little too complicated for our tastes. I once made poached eggs every night for over a week, trying to master our technique. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it works for us – and hopefully for you too. The most important tip we’ve found is to have really fresh eggs – otherwise you end up with a mess! Hopefully you can get the method down, and enjoy what I think is one of life’s most pure and lovely foods.

Poached Egg
Serves: 4 eggs
What You Need
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • Splash of vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Water
  • Four small bowls
  • Large skillet
  • Slotted spoon
  • Tea towel
What To Do
  1. Fill a large skillet with 1½ inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar. Heat over medium-high heat until the water just starts to bubble, just below a simmer (about 190°F). Be careful to maintain the temperature throughout the cooking process and ensure the water does not boil.
  2. Crack each egg into a small bowl, the carefully slide each egg into the water. Make sure to give plenty of space between each egg. The egg whites will spread out a bit as they hit the water, then soon start to form up.
  3. Allow the eggs to cook for 4 minutes, until the whites set. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, then place them on a tea towel-covered plate to allow the to water drain. If desired, trim the edges before serving.


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  • Reply
    Caramel Wings
    January 24, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I used to have so much trouble with poaching eggs before!! But thanks to Gordon Ramsay I got it right :D What I do is almost the same as your procedure except I take 4 inches of water, and make a vortex before sliding the eggs in the water. Once I have a good vortex, I pour my egg right in the eye of the vortex and all those whites just wrap around the yellow :)

  • Reply
    January 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I love Julia’s affair with the egg, and I too was delighted when I realized how a ridiculously cheap/accessible (while also ethically-produced) protein could be called a meal.

    Now, if I could just convince my kids of the same…

  • Reply
    January 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    One of my all-time best cook moments:
    Roast asparagus with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Toast bread crumbs on the stove with a little bit of butter.
    Plate asparagus, sprinkling a good amount of bread crumbs over it.
    Then add a poached egg on top.
    Then shave a few parmesan cheese curls over it.
    Then die and go to heaven, because it is both delicious and beautiful!!!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Haha. Sounds wonderful! Spring is almost here, right?

      • Reply
        January 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm

        Yes, sounds amazing! We’ll add it to our list :)

  • Reply
    Brooks at Cakewalker
    January 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    The vinegar does the trick every time. Beautiful yolk action captured in the photo, I can almost taste it over the texture of the whole grain bread. Marvelous!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks! It was pretty marvelous :)

      • Reply
        January 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

        I agree! We’ve also found that it’s best to only use a small amount of vinegar – otherwise it tastes a little metalic (to me, at least)!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I love my egg just like that! Your poach egg recipe is just simple and perfect :)

  • Reply
    January 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I have never tried to poach an egg before, but it always looks so good and creamy with the delicious yellow yolk. Your picture makes me want to try:)

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    That picture is making me absolutely drool! Eggs with runny yolks are one of my favorite foods ever. You’re so right, they can make a meal! Thanks for the tips on poaching eggs. I always fail miserably. Am going to try vinegar next time.

  • Reply
    Da @Kitchen Corners
    February 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    What a beautiful blog. Couples who cook together make me happy. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post today. It inspired me to make poached eggs. I linked to your post today on my poached egg post. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    Super Taster
    June 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. I had my most successful experience poaching eggs this evening. It took about 5-6 minutes for the whites to fully cook, but the method and description was spot on. So, so helpful. The eggs were perfect atop sauteed portabellas and drizzled with heart-attack-inducing hollandaise. Breakfast for dinner is the best!

    • Reply
      June 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I’m glad it worked out! Poached eggs are so simple yet wonderful :)

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    Happy Cooking! ~ Sonja & Alex