The Subtle Art of Poaching an Egg

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There are few breakfasts as dignified, quiet, and enjoyable as those including poached eggs.  From the simple poached eggs-and-toast to the wonderfully complex eggs benedict, the elegance of this magnificent creation is obvious.

Recently I entered into a contretemps with Mr Bertelsen regarding the proper way to poach an egg. He prefers to use an egg poacher, such as the one you see to the left, and contended that nobody wet poaching an egg could ever match its brilliant results. My position was the opposite: that no dry-poaching egg-cheater could ever come close to a well-made water-poached egg. We realized that we could not be the best judges of this particular contest, so we turned to the Breakfast Club and discovered the painfully obvious: I was right.

So, I'm going to reveal to you all my method of making poached eggs. Perhaps somebody can improve on this, and if so, I'd love to hear it. I'm not really much of a cook at all, you see.

Fill a skillet with a few inches of water, enough for the eggs to float around, and throw in a healthy dash of salt.  Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium.  At this point, add a teaspoon or two of good white wine vinegar to the water.  This helps keep the eggs together by raising the pH.  Once the boiling has subsided, carefully slip an egg into the water.  I like to use a small shallow bowl or a teacup, but I'm certain that there are those of you out there who can do this with the eggshell alone.  I've also heard that some people use a ladle.

I like to put eggs into the water in a clockwise direction so I know which order to remove them in.  They need just about four minutes to be perfectly poached.  That is, with the whites fairly solid and a good amount of runniness left to the yolk.  So when the four minutes are up, use a slotted spoon or a slotted spatula (or even two, if the eggs are being recalcitrant) and scoop them out of the water.  You'll want to have a paper towel nearby that you can use to blot the bottom of the egg just a bit, to soak up any additional water.  After this, serve!  I usually serve mine on buttered toast.

Enjoy the perfectly poached egg.

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A gentleman of leisure may certainly enjoy cooking, but as the lifestyle tends to lead one in many different and lackadaisical directions, with the cultivation of many different hobbies and interests, I suspect that there are relatively few who truly... Read More

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