After graduating from culinary school, my first “real” job was in a little French restaurant working the Garde Manger station (salads, charcuterie boards, pâtés, etc.). One of the dishes I was responsible for was a Warm Frisée Salad that consisted of sautéed mushrooms and lardons, a red wine vinegar reduction mounted with butter, and a poached egg perched high atop a grilled crostini (and yes, it was as delicious as it sounds!!). While I can’t even begin to tell you the countless dozens of eggs I poached for that one salad, I’ll never forget the top five tips and techniques for poaching eggs that I learned along the way:
Start with VERY FRESH, VERY COLD eggs – The fresher the egg, the better it will coagulate and there will be less feathering of the egg white once it hits the water
Break your egg into a small ramekin or teacup first, then gently place the egg in the simmering water. Be sure not to overcrowd your eggs in the pan.
Make sure that your water is at a simmer, NOT BOILING – this is SUPER IMPORTANT!
Don’t forget to add a few teaspoons of distilled white vinegar – it will help with the coagulation process
If you mess it all up, just start over, it’s only an egg after all!
Back when I was working that Garde Manger station, I would poach the eggs to order and would simply eyeball everything (never using an exact recipe). Now that I’m a mom and am usually poaching multiple eggs for my family (hello, Eggs Benedict!), I’ve been using Alton Brown’s recipe below for Perfect Poached Eggs. I love this recipe because it’s super-duper easy, foolproof, and does produce perfect poached eggs each and every time. If your family enjoys poached eggs as much as mine does, this recipe is a surefire keeper that you’ll always want to keep on hand. Enjoy!
Perfect Poached Eggs
Makes 4 servings
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Pour 1 ¼ inches of water into a 12 inch non-stick skillet and add kosher salt and distilled white vinegar. Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, crack each individual egg into a small ramekin or teacup (you will need 4 ramekins or teacups). Turn off heat and let water reduce to a simmer. Then carefully drop each egg into the simmering water.
Cover the skillet and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don’t peek, poke, stir or accost the eggs in any way. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Alternatively, move the eggs to an ice bath and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Reheat in warm water just before serving.
**If you prefer the egg yolk to be a bit more done, remove eggs from the water after 6 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown