Lest you begin to think that everything turns out perfectly in the shoe box kitchen, we’ve decided to come clean on something: we can’t poach an egg to save our lives.
What is this? Only the second hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season?? Hurricane Danielle is that you??
No. More like Hurricane Fail. This was our – let’s see – third or fourth attempt to poach an egg this morning.
How hard can it be, right? Yes, we researched all over the internet. We even consulted Martha Stewart, herself, who says that “it’s really not that hard if you follow these simple steps.”
Instead of describing everything that we tried, I’ll describe the method that gave us the “best” result.
We heated 3 inches of water in a saucepan until a few bubbles were just beginning to rise and burst on the surface, or, to a temperature of about 170 – 180 degrees, as verified by our instant read thermometer. We also added about a tablespoon of vinegar, which is supposed to encourage the egg whites to congeal more quickly, thus avoiding Hurricane Fail (which attempt, incidentally, was done without the use of vinegar).
We cracked one relatively fresh egg into a prep bowl (rather than directly into the water).
We then stirred the water to create a vortex, then gently poured the egg into the vortex. Immediately it looked promising (the vinegar helped hold the whites together), but before long, the egg had sunk to the bottom of the pot and began to stick. In fact, this was the problem that we could not overcome and which continued to yield something more like an egg fried over easy.
During a different (not our most successful) attempt, we tried this “double-boilerish” approach, with the glass prep bowl filled with enough water to cook the egg but enough air to keep it floating, so the bottom would not come into contact with the pot. We thought this might solve the “frying egg” dilemma. For whatever reason, though, these results were even worse, as the egg went straight to the bottom of the glass bowl and stuck.
This was the result of our best attempt. We served the “poached” egg on top of toasted whole wheat flat bread with a spreading of garlic hummus (we doubled the amount of garlic from the original recipe – HOO-wah!). As it turns out, the concept was great – the garlicy hummus and runny egg yolk flavors complimented each other outstandingly well. The execution, however, is in need of much improvement.
We read that some people add salt to increase the density of the water, thus helping the egg float, but we’ve also read that salt will counteract the purpose of the vinegar. Nevertheless, we’ll try some salt next time, as well as a new batch of eggs.
So help us out, here! Surely someone out there is an expert egg poacher. What’s your advice on how to poach the perfect egg??