An honest-to-goodness foolproof way to poach an egg

Poached egg

We all have little challenges in life that aren’t momentous but are a constant irritant – and cooking a perfect poached egg was one of ours. Somehow, despite numerous attempts, research and, yes, even cooking school (where we were taught to carefully lay the eggs on a kitchen towel and manually trim the eggs with scissors), our poached eggs tasted fine, but still looked awful.

So this article, How to Poach Eggs, The Foolproof Method (Really!) from the Food Lab over at Serious Eats,  with a method that actually  really works, may not be exciting to everyone, but it’s something we just had to share. It turns out that a key step in producing a great poached egg is to strain the egg. By straining the egg, you lose all the especially watery white that creates those wispy little strange edges that either make the egg look like something from a 1950’s B-rated science fiction movie or get loose and clog up the water, making visibility impossible. 

The article give full instructions, with a very helpful video – and delivers on its title.  If a poaching egg technique has ever been an irritant, it’s definitely worth a look.

Photo and Video by Jessica Leibowitz, Article by Kenji Alt

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  • veronicafrance  on  April 3, 2013

    What a simple and brilliant idea! I do pretty good poached eggs by sliding them gently into the simmering water from a small bowl, but the strainer is so simple and so clever. I'll definitely try that next time.

  • PatriciaAnn  on  April 3, 2013

    I've tried this method several times now and it works well. When selecting a strainer, choose one that has an extra piece on the opposite side of the handle to help suspend it over the bowl without having to hold the strainer. I have a few small strainers that I purchased at Walmart that are perfect. They measure 3 1/8" across and are made by Softsides. I'm going to get a few more so I can poach multiple eggs at the same time.

  • Jane  on  April 3, 2013

    Loved this! I have poached eggs at least twice a week and have never found the perfect way. I will definitely be trying this method next time.

  • veronicafrance  on  April 5, 2013

    sir_ken_g: Yes, they do, but eggs cooked in those are not poached eggs ๐Ÿ™‚ I grew up with "poached eggs" cooked in one of those pans, but I would now call them coddled eggs. They don't have the same consistency as eggs poached directly in water — as well as looking very different.

  • PatriciaAnn  on  April 9, 2013

    I find the eggs to be not as soft if they are cooked in a device. For me, an egg cooked loose in the water, has a much nicer consistency than one cooked in a enclosed cup. Lately, I place the poached eggs in a large bowl as they are done, top them with a little Irish butter, sprinkle on some Celtic sea salt, and grind fresh some Frontier organic peppers: green pepper, smoked pepper, and red pepper. I pass this plate around the table and everyone loves them. Hollandaise is served on the side for those who desire it.

  • Jane  on  April 23, 2013

    I used this method at the weekend and delighted to report perfect looking eggs with no straggly edges.

  • nickrey  on  April 24, 2013

    I saw this on cheap eats and was struck by their use of a fine strainer. Viscous eggs don't need a fine strainer: I use a slotted ladle with holes that are 4mm (approx 1/6 inch) in diameter to strain my eggs prior to poaching.

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