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Last night I was doing some fried schnitzels with canola oil at 130-140C (they were very good).

After serving them, I felt adventurous and wondered what would happen if I tried to poach an egg in that oil. The result: a hell-spawn mutation of an egg.

The question(s):

  • did I do something wrong?
  • is there a right way of poaching an egg in oil?
  • are there other fluids where the poaching yields something more pleasant?
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7  
"poaching in hot oil" is commonly known as frying :) or rather deep-frying. I agree that the term "fried egg" is normally used for a shallow-fried egg, but calling it 'poaching in oil' feels weird. –  rumtscho Mar 25 '13 at 11:47
    
I want pictures of your hell-spawn egg mutant. –  Sobachatina Mar 25 '13 at 14:47
2  
@Sobachatina sorry, it was the egg or me, so I had to eat it :D –  Dan Mar 25 '13 at 14:48
    
This will be your super mutant back story. Someday, when you're famous, we'll look back and laugh. –  Sobachatina Mar 25 '13 at 14:59
    
Man, I would be reluctant to drop an egg into a deep pan of hot oil unless I was wearing a hot-flying-oil-proof suit! I am glad you came out of that OK. –  KennyPeanuts Mar 25 '13 at 17:14

3 Answers 3

The only thing you did wrong was to try to poach an egg in oil, at least hot oil. Dropping an egg into really hot oil is going to cause all the water in the egg to turn to steam very quickly, hence the nuclear mutant effect you no doubt got.

If you want to poach in oil then you need to keep the temperature way down. I don't see any reason you couldn't poach eggs in oil as long as it's below the boiling point of water. I could see both benefits and drawbacks to that method, if you try it please post the result. The viscosity of oil may help keep the egg together, then again the result is likely to be greasy, which defeats the purpose of poaching.

As for other fluids where poaching yields something more pleasant, why not water? It's what eggs are typically poached in, it works well, and it's cheap. As for other things I've poached with, the best result was salmon poached in Champagne. I made that for my girlfriend and she ended up marrying me. It can't be me, so it must be my cooking.

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The heat capacity of oil is actually lower than that of water; the reason fat is a good cooking medium is that its temperature can go higher than water. This doesn't really apply to poaching. Typical poaching liquids depending on application would be water, acidulated water, court bullion, or stock. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 25 '13 at 17:16

You can poach in any medium you'd like. You are only concerned with heating the egg enough to coagulate the whites and/or yolks if you want. Eggs poached in tomato sauce are amazing. The only caveats to poaching in other liquids other than water is the pH and temperature. Obviously you can't get water above the boil point without pressure so your not super concerned about the puffy effect you experienced but with other mediums like oil, you will boil of the water so quickly it will puff up the white and set hard.

Slow poaching in oil is a possibility but to evaluate the benefits you have to keep in mind that in order for the egg to take on the flavors of the cooking medium the flavors have to be fat soluble.

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well that qualifies as a ripple in your chef hat. (in the old days the number of ripples in the hat meant the number of different ways the chef could make eggs).

Here are some tricks for poaching eggs [in water]:

  • Use an 8-10" [non-stick] skillet filled to the brim and bring to boil and turn the heat to lowest. The idea is to prevent the egg from sinking and crashing into the bottom and easy access for fishing them out.
  • Add 2 table-spoons of vinegar, and two tea-spoons of salt. The vinegar will help set the egg white fast so the egg keep its shape and not disintegrate.
  • Use as freshest eggs as possible (they sprawl less) and break them into small cups.
  • Lower the edge of the cups to the water and drop the eggs in. You want the least disturbance to the egg.
  • Turn off the heat and cover for 4 minutes, 4 1/2 or more for harder yolk or bigger eggs (ducks go very well here).
  • Pull them out with a slotted spoon. If you don't have one, you can use two nearly overlapping spoon so to drain the excess water while keeping the egg.
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your mention of duck eggs makes me wonder how ostrich eggs would fare... –  Dan Mar 25 '13 at 15:52
    
@Dan lol, you'd probably need a stockpot for that. I've been trying to get my hands on ostrich eggs. A GIANT eggs benny on a bed of focaccia and lox to serve a party of at least 4. Let's call it "Eggs Benedict XVI". –  MandoMando Mar 25 '13 at 17:36
    
wouldn't you need a water circulator to have the temperature even all over ? I mean, does poaching scale all the way up in size or is there a volume limit where the outside cooks before the inside gets warm enough? –  Dan Mar 25 '13 at 22:03
    
@Dan No it doesn't scale, and you might have problems as you guessed. It's very much subject to Laws of Thermodynamics. –  MandoMando Mar 25 '13 at 22:12
1  
I put the question out there: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/33012/… –  Dan Mar 25 '13 at 22:17

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