Ages ago I promised to tell you how to make the perfect poached egg.
Well, it looks like I’ll be having a few more poached eggs soon, as we have just got another two chickens. I thought they might be called Charles Darwin and Jane Austen (after significant authors in our collections at the National Library of Scotland where I work)… but now that they’re home, I’m not so sure. Pictures will of course follow but it’s such a dreich dull day that I can’t bear to take pics yet. They are both Wyandottes: one white and the other blue. The white girl is big and bumptious, and blue is petite and very shy. And neither can be seduced by food – I gave them a scattering of warm sweetcorn, which my other girls would hoover up in the space of seconds.. and the new girls weren’t really interested.
Anyway, there will no doubt be further news of my family of chooks, but for now, let me tell you how I make the perfect poached egg.
Get the freshest eggs you can get.
You do know how to tell if they are fresh or not? You pop them in water and see if they float or not. If they sink to the bottom then they are oh so fresh; if they float to the top I’m not sure I’d eat them. Somewhere in the middle is probably ok.
And the reason this happens is that there is a membrane inside the egg, and over time the gap between the membrane and the eggshell fills with air to make a wee air pocket, hence the egg floats.
OK, so now you’ve got your eggs, you’re ready to make the poached eggs.
- Boil a kettle full of water
- Pour the hot water into a wide pan (possibly a deep sided frying pan type thing)
- Add a pinch of salt and about 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (don’t add more, you don’t want your eggs to taste of the vinegar – it’s just added to help the egg whites stay together and not stray all over the pan)
- Put the pan on a REALLY low heat – you hardly want the water to bubble at all
- Break your egg into a tea cup
- Lower the tea cup with the egg in it towards the water, at a 45 degree angle, then slowly and gently tip the tea cup and slip the egg into the water
- Repeat for as many eggs as you have (but don’t overcrowd the pan)
- Now, let them just sit there in the almost boiling water for about 3-5 minutes, depending how fresh the eggs were and how soft you like them
- Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon (which was always called a holey willie when I was a child and I still find it hard to resist calling it that!)
Serve on fresh buttered toast. Of course. Preferably with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
Other things to have with a poached egg on toast
- Black pudding – classic and delicious, needs nothing else
- But if you’re being fancy, add some scallops (and perhaps swap the toast for some spinach)
- Ham with or without hollandaise sauce
- Marmite – trust me, it works
- Smoked salmon
- Poached Eggs! (sharingtheinsanity.com)
- The Chicken Definitely Comes Before The Egg (thegdve.wordpress.com)