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How should I poach an egg?

What's the best method to poach an egg?


I copy / pasted this, as it is the guide I have used, and it is wonderful:

First: Lose the big pot of water. Instead, retrieve a medium-sized skillet (10-inch diameter) that has a lid. If your skillet doesn't have a matching lid, try on some of your other lids -- one of them is bound to do the job. If not, you can cover the skillet with a baking sheet or large dinner plate. All right, go to the sink and fill the skillet with about 3 inches of water -- that's all. Put the skillet on high heat. Cover it to speed up the heating time. Meanwhile, for 4 eggs, crack one each into four small cups or bowls. You can use coffee cups, little Asian tea cups, custard cups or the little poaching cups that from the poaching set you will no longer be using.

Second: Put all cups of eggs on a plate, and have them convenient to the stove. When the water in the skillet boils, remove the cover. Add one tablespoon of plain vinegar to the water, and some salt. Vinegar helps the egg to hold its shape. Without it, the eggs will become skeins of protein tangling up in the water. When the salt goes in, it will actually raise the temperature of the water. Watch the bubbles. I happen to like the vinegar taste on the finished egg. If you don't, put the finished poached eggs in a bowl of water. This stops the cooking and washes away the vinegar. If you like the vinegar, try a splash of herbal, apple cider, or sherry vinegar.

Third: Lower the lip of each egg-cup 1/2-inch below the surface of the water. Let the eggs flow out. Immediately return the lid to the pan and turn off the heat. Set a timer for exactly three minutes for medium-firm yolks. Adjust the time up or down for runnier or firmer yolks. While the eggs cook, you have the time to make four pieces of toast, set the table, wash the empty cups, and put the buttered toast on plates. When the timer goes off, remove the cover. Ah! Lift each perfectly poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon, but hold it over the skillet briefly to let any water clinging to the egg drain off. Gently lay an egg on each piece of toast. And there you have it. Perfect poached eggs actually cooked in residual heat and not in the literal sense of the term, poached at all.


I've always used a wide deep saute pan or pot, and

  1. boil the water in pan
  2. (optional) salt it
  3. crack egg carefully in small bowl or ramekin
  4. swirl the boiling into a vortex.
  5. drop egg in center of whirlpool.
  6. cook to desired doneness
  7. (optional) cut any stringy bits off the resulting poached egg
  8. (optional) pinch of salt, pinch of pepper