Poached eggs have always been a comfort food for me. As a child, each day started with a poached egg made by Mum. She used an egg poacher which was well-worn after years of use. I, too, have an egg poacher which my husband uses to make poached eggs for breakfast every Sunday morning. I find this poacher, with metal cups, inconsistent; it makes four eggs at a time, and if you just want a single egg, pulling it out of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards, is too much of a deterrent for me.
Mum and I have been working to perfect a method for a consistent poached egg in a saucepan. With or without vinegar, with or without a vortex, it boils down to preference. In fact, I have found it boils down to boiling!
Here is my preferred method for a single, perfect poached egg:
Firstly, crack an egg and place it in a shallow dish or ramekin.
In a small saucepan, bring a couple of inches of water to a rolling boil. Add a drop of vinegar (it will not flavour the egg and is supposed to keep the white from floating off). Now, reduce the burner to low, remove the pot from the burner for a few seconds to reduce the boil. Once the water is just at a soft simmer, return pot to burner and stir in the centre of the pot to create a vortex, a tornado in the pot! Carefully, hold the dish close to the surface of the water and allow egg to slide into the swirling water.
I like my yolk soft, so I use a three-minute timer. Adjust your time accordingly. Using a slotted spoon, scoop egg out of water, gently test for doneness by feeling the yolk. I like to let my egg sit on the spoon, suspended over the pot – it keeps the egg warm and eliminates the water puddle if left to sit on a plate.
Enjoy your perfect poached egg however you prefer to eat one. For me, it is mashed on a piece of toast. It makes an equally satisfying breakfast, lunch, supper, or even a filling snack (just not all in one day!)