Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How To Poach An Egg

There is always a beginning for everything. I have been teaching myself how to cook ever sense I was a child. It began with learning how to make box macaroni and cheese along with my grandmother’s fudge recipe. I love to cook and am constantly learning new things about how to cook. Over the last year I began to focus on my health and the kinds of food I ate. Primary Plates began as a way to document meals. As time went on when friends and family have visited an impromptu cooking lesson would happen. I have decided to start a blog to document the things I have learned and share that with everyone.

 For some time now I have been trying to poach an egg. A poached egg is an egg cooking in water without the shell. This method of cooking an egg was elusive to me for quite some time so I sat down, read up on several methods, bought a few dozen eggs, and began to experiment to find out what actually worked.

So to begin to demystify poaching an egg we’ll look at the typical methods on how to poach an egg. The two most common methods mentioned are vinegar in the water and swirling the water. Each method is supposed to keep the egg white from becoming tendrilly, or the egg white breaks into long thin strands. Having tried both I have found each method lacking the results I expected. The vinegar method just leaves egg tasting of vinegar. The swirling method ended up creating more tendrils than not swirling the water beforehand or that is how it turned out for me. You can add salt to the water if you are looking to add some flavor to your poached egg during the poaching process.

So what does it take to poach an egg? It is just a few simple rules to follow to obtain very nice results every time. What you will need is a pot of water at a temperature between 190°F and 200°F with about 2 inches of water and the other item you will need is a small shallow dish to pour the egg in the water with. I use 2 inches of water to make sure the egg is completely submerged during the cooking process and the temperature is critical to cooking the egg. If the water is actually boiling the egg white will separate during cooking making a complete mess with the temperature about 190°F but below 200°F bubbles will form on the bottom of the pan but the surface tension can still hold them there. Some people will tell you to gently stir the water to alleviate the bubbles that form. I found that it does not really matter when it comes to poaching the egg. The shallow dish is also vital to the poaching process because it is how the egg will be transferred into the water. You are looking for a dish with a wide lip. When pouring the egg in it is perfectly acceptable to have the edge of the lip in the water while pouring the egg in. This becomes important so to minimize the egg white from spreading out and becoming stringy.

So how long should the egg cook? I cooked mine for three and a half minutes. This made sure the egg white was completely cooked while leaving the yolk creamy and runny. Depending on the size of the pot or pan you are using you can cook up to four eggs simultaneously.

Let’s discuss plating. Poached eggs can be used as a garnish or as the main dish. A poached egg on sautéed vegetable or salad is excellent. The creamy egg yolk will act as a sauce that drizzles over everything. It also goes good with hollandaise sauce on top of chicken or even ham. I have tried them in soup
also poached an egg in soup just before serving. With a little imagination and willingness to experiment you can add poached eggs to almost anything.

Ok so to recap to poach an egg you’ll need:

Shallow Dish
A pan with 2 inches of water heated to between 190°F and 200°F

     1)      Crack open egg and pour in shallow dish
     2)      Gently pour egg into hot water (note: the lip of the shallow dish can be in the water)
     3)      Cook egg for 3-1/2 minutes
     4)      Remove with a slotted spoon to strain water
     5)      Plate