How you cook an egg says a lot about you in the kitchen. Here's how to poach an egg that would make Michael Ruhlman proud and Anthony Bourdain swoon.
This post was originally published in Niagara Life Magazine.
Anthony Bourdain once said you can tell someone's aptitude in a kitchen by how he cooks an egg.
That might leave you reconsidering that frittata the next time the brash celebrity chef comes for dinner but truth is, once you master the egg, you master much in the kitchen. Like anything, though, there are countless opinions on how to do it. Take the poached egg. Do you use vinegar in the cooking water? What about salt? Should you stir the cooking water while adding the egg? Suddenly breakfast is a PhD thesis. Good thing we've cracked the code on the perfect poach. All of the above work, just in different, nuanced ways. Here are the do's for whatever method you choose to poach an egg:
- Use the freshest eggs possible. You'll be happier with the results and you won't have to run as much interference to get the perfect poach. In our experiment, we used eggs between three and five days old.
- Always crack your egg into a ramekin, then gently tip it into the cooking water instead of breaking it directly into the pot. That way you can fish out any bits of stray shell beforehand instead while biting into your eggs Benny.
- Make sure the water comes to a gentle boil before adding the egg. The movement of the water helps it take shape more than anything added to the cooking liquid.
- Ensure there's enough cooking liquid to keep the egg floating comfortably above the bottom of the pot. So if you're using a 2.5-quart pot, fill it with two-quarts of water. An egg with little room to manoeuvre that's forced to hover near the burner will throw off cooking times and leave soft yolk fans disappointed.
- Three minutes in boiling water gives a yolk you can sop with toast; five minutes if you prefer it firm.