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I would like to bring eggs Florentine for a potluck. I usually make them for myself Sunday mornings, but usually I strain the egg fresh from the pot to the muffin.

Is there any way to do this for a potluck with, say, a dozen eggs or more, where I won't have access to goodies to do this live?

  • You can "overcook" the eggs. This will at least make them hold together until service. Another way would be the beer cooler method: bring a small cooler and an electric kettle, pour boiling water into the cooler, wait for it to cool enough and drop your eggs in. – Mr. Mascaro Apr 2 '15 at 18:54
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Some data:

Egg whites start coagulating at 150F.
Egg yolks start thickening at 150F and become solid at 158F or so.
The danger zone for bacteria is between 40F and 130F.

What this means is that your perfect poaching temperature is going to be somewhere around 150F to 155F depending on how firm you like your eggs. At these temperatures bacteria can't grow and if held at this temperature the eggs will never overcook. Over time the yolks will become thicker but it takes many hours.

The serious way to do this is with a sous vide setup that electronically controls the temperature of a water bath.

A cheaper method is what jbarker2160 referred to as the beer cooler method.

  • Pour 155F water into a cooler (or hotter and let it cool with the lid off)
  • Add the eggs in their shells.
  • Put the lid on and let them cook forever. They won't overcook.

They can be served out of their shells. The shape is different than poached but IMO better.

You do need to make sure your cooler doesn't ever dip below 130F very long before serving or you risk bacteria growth.

  • This is an Egg-cellent answer. I also seem to remember and episode of Good Eats where Alton alternatively poaches then shocks the eggs in an icebath ahead of time, then gently reheats/rewarms the eggs in a fresh pot immediately before serving. Again, be cautious of what temperatures your eggs see and for how long. Good luck! – BrownRedHawk Apr 3 '15 at 20:46
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Sous vide would be difficult to move, as you'd need to deal with how to power it while in transit ... you either need a power inverter that can run off your car's alternator, or lug around a UPS (battery backup system).

If I were to try something like this, I'd poach the eggs (with vinegar in the water) 'til they were set and I felt that I could safely move them, but cooked a little bit shorter than I would have otherwise. I'd then shock them in ice water, and keep them cooled down for transit.

Before serving the eggs, I'd use the 'beer cooler method' mentioned earlier to warm back up the eggs. You might also be able to individually dunk them in hotter water (above 160°F) for a couple of seconds to remove the chill from them.

...

... and then, as I was going to check to see if eggs florentine had a hot sauce like eggs benedict, which could be used to heat the eggs back up, I see a similar suggestion on Food Network's website. They recommend holding the poached eggs in water :

Cook's Note: The poached eggs can be made ahead of time if stored in water and refrigerated. Reheat by placing in simmering water for 30 seconds.

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    Good answer but not nearly as cool. You won't impress anyone if you're always do everything the easy way. :) – Sobachatina Apr 3 '15 at 17:34

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