Cooking a perfectly poached egg may seem like an intimidating endeavor, but the successful execution of a few simple techniques are the keys to achieving luxurious, runny yolks surrounded by delicately set, opaque whites. Introducing an egg to a gently simmering pot of water, or microwaving submerged in water, covered, will produce the perfectly poached egg you desire, no special equipment required.
Stovetop Poached Eggs
Fill a pot with 4 to 5 inches of water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer over medium heat; there should be small bubbles steadily breaking the surface, but avoid bringing to a rolling boil. If the bubbles are large and aggressively breaking the surface, turn down the heat.
Add a healthy pour of white wine vinegar to the simmering water, as this helps the egg firm up while it cooks. Use a 1 to 8 ratio of vinegar to water for the best results. Avoid adding too much vinegar as the egg will take on the flavor.
Use a spoon to swirl the simmering water to create a vortex. Crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Gently pour the egg into the center of the vortex, white first, keeping the bowl or ramekin close to the water to help keep the egg together.
Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Remove the poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon. Use the spoon to trim any excess wisps of egg white by pressing the spoon against the sides of the pan to cut off the wisps.
Set the poached egg on a bed of paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Serve immediately with buttered toast and a side of bacon or sausage.
Microwave Poached Eggs
Fill a microwave-safe bowl or ramekin with 1/2 cup of water. Crack an egg into the bowl or ramekin, making sure that the egg is completely submerged in the water.
Cover the bowl or ramekin with a saucer to trap the heat while the egg cooks. Microwave the egg on high for approximately 1 minute, or until the egg white is set and the yolk is runny.
Remove the egg from the bowl or ramekin, carefully, using a slotted spoon. Set the poached egg on a bed of paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Serve immediately atop a fresh garden salad or rice bowl.
For the best results, use the freshest eggs available.
Use an egg poaching tool, such as a silicon egg poaching cup or a metallic ring, to assist in making eggs that are uniform in appearance.
Don’t salt the water, as it results in wispy, broken-off strands of egg whites. If you want to salt your poached egg, do so after it has finished cooking.