Thursday, August 4

Eggs Benedict Mini Series--Week 2 Poaching

I would say 'Ah, Thursday already' but it's one of those weeks where it is almost shocking that it is only Thursday.  

During this last week, I've been compiling egg poaching recipes, how-to's, tips, and techniques. 

Then I tried them out, took pictures, and noted the result of each. May seem tedious, but I've actually had a lot of fun--I ever mention I'm a closet nerdy-type? I totally love learning new things and learning to poach an egg is no exception. 

I've got my steno pad, eggs, small bowls, vinegar and a tablespoon. 
Bring 'em on!

     --> Poaching is defined as a method of cooking food in a gently simmering liquid with the amount of liquid, as well as the type, dependent upon the food being poached.

      In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 1/2-inches of water to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low.

      Break 1 egg into a small cup and holding the cup close to the surface of the water, slip the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with remaining eggs.

      Cook until egg whites have set and egg yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Try #1
Try #3

      With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Try #3 on paper towels.

    For The Good Housekeeping CookBook, I poached 3 eggs but not all at once. I varied each attempt slightly in efforts to get it just right. 

Try #1
 My first poached egg had a beautiful silky center, but the whites surrounding the yolk seemed a but under-cooked--so I skipped eating this one. This one was in the water for about 4 minutes.


Try #2
My second egg had its whites cooked more--perhaps a bit over-cooked seeings how the yolk had started to cook as well. You can actually see a bit of the pastel yellow peeking out at the camera. This one was cooked for 5 minutes; verdict: 5 minutes is too long.


Try #3
The third attempt is was not cooked as much as the second, but was still over-cooked. The egg was poached for about 5 minutes--which is still too long. The yolk, at least this time, wasn't cooked to the point of starting to turn pale yellow but was no longer runny.


Next up: an article found on 'How to Poach an Egg', posted by Sue Veed.
     --> The author informs us that a perfectly poached egg has firm, opaque whites and a silky yolk that runs bright yellow when cut into.
      Start with eggs as fresh as possible as the hold their shape better during cooking.
      Fill a medium saucepan with water at least 2 inches deep, and up to 4 inches, and bring to a simmer. 
      In the meantime, crack the egg into a small bowl. However (and this is the one and only site to state this) if you don't have a small bowl, you can skip this step and crack the egg straight into the simmering water.
      When the water comes to a gentle simmer (which the author defines as seeing some bubbles which will be rising slowly), add a splash (at least 1 Tbsp, but up to 1/4 c.) of white, champagne, or other light-colored vinegar.
      Lower the bowl with the egg to the water's surface, then lightly tip the egg into the liquid. Work with one at a time first, adding an egg or two as you feel comfortable. If needed, swirl a spoon in the water to gently nudge the whites closer to the yolk while it sets up.
      Once the whites have firmed and no longer look runny, about 3-4 minutes, fish out the egg with a slotted spoon. Let any excess water drip back into the pan.
      Store cooked eggs on a paper towel-lined plate, as this will absorb any extra moisture. At this phase, you can also store the eggs for future use--simply place them in a bowl of icy water and keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. To reheat, simmer another batch of water and add the egg to warm.
      For a neater presentation, you can trim the thin or flimsy edges of the whites with kitchen scissors or a knife.
      Ta da! Sprinkle with sea salt or kosher. Pat self on back. Serve.


Next up: Alton Brown, via
     --> I couldn't very well research how to do something without consulting Food Network.
      Pour enough water into a 10-inch nonstick skillet to measure no less than 1 1/2 inches, place over high heat, and bring to 190 degrees F. Add 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar. Gently crack each of the 4 eggs into a custard cup. Lower each cup intothe water until it touches the bottom and gently pour in the egg. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, to a tea towel-lined plate. Trim the edges of the white with the side of a spoon and serve immediately. Eggs may be stored in ice water in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Reheat in hot water for 1 minute before serving.


Next: Emeril Lagasse, via
     --> Gotta make sure I include all the big names in food.
      Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, with the vinegar and salt in a small saucepan over high heat.
      Crack an egg into a cup and slide the egg gently into the water. Crack another egg into the cup and, while the water returns to a boil, slide this egg gently into the water as well. Repeat with the third egg. When the water returns to a coil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the eggs are set. Watch carefully and remove the eggs when the yolks are still soft, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
      What I like about Emeril's recipe is that he gives a little trick to finding out if the egg is done: Test by lifting an egg slightly out of the water on a slotted spoon and gently pressing the center with your finger-- the yolk should be soft and the white firm.
      Drain on paper towels. Poached eggs can be made ahead and immersed in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. Reheat by immersing briefly in simmering water.


Lastly, but not least: Bobby Flay's recipe, via
     --> The "recipe" for poaching eggs was extracted from a more intricate recipe.
      Heat 3 cups of water and 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar until simmering in a large high-sided frying pan.
      Break each egg into a cup and gently add to the water. Poach the eggs for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the yolk is nearly or almost set. Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon to drain the liquid and place on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. 


    Alright, so I believe that we have determined that poaching eggs is pretty much the same across the board. Where it varies is with the technique of the one doing the poaching. 

    Hmm...I think the hard part is knowing when the egg is done. With getting the egg into the water, I gathered that it is better to do it a little quicker rather than more slowly. By going slowly the egg spreads out more versus going a little more quickly it stays more localized. It's all in the wrists. :)


These may not look all that different in the pictures, but in person they are. The one on the left does not have a whole "loose" whites. The one on the right has lots of "loose" whites that have been pushed up by the bubbles from the simmering.

    And I do have my own tip to share! A lot of the recipes call for inches of water rather than cups. But how do you tell when the saucepan has 1 1/2 inches of water? Here's a neat trick. In general, there is 1 inch between the tips/bends of your finger. So stick your finger in the water and use that as a guide:
In the picture, the water is about 1 1/2 inches up. See? You always have a ruler--sort of--at your fingertips! ;)


  1. I like this series! I am so excited about trying the eggs benedict.

  2. Haha, wow...that last picture freaked me out. I thought it was your arm at first glance, lol! Glad to see it`s your finger.

    Love eggs so much! Buzzed this!


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