How to Poach an Egg Perfectly Every Time
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Find out how to poach an egg perfectly every time. The trick is a special but very simple tool: A sieve!
Last week, I shared my super-easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce recipe. It’s made in a blender and ready in minutes. If you guessed that an Eggs Benedict recipe was in the future you’re right. But first we’re tackling the centerpiece of the dish — the poached egg.
This is not something I’ve ever been good at. I’ve tried adding vinegar to the water, I’ve continually swirled the water, I’ve kept it at a bare simmer. But it never really worked. I ended up with bits of filmy egg white in the pot. Every time.
During a recent visit home though, my mom taught me a new trick (don’t moms know everything?). A fine mesh sieve is is the key to how to poach an egg perfectly every time.
I’ll walk you through the process.
Let’s start. Crack the eggs into individual bowls.
Place the fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Unlike in the picture below, it is best to place the sieve in such a way so that it is not centered over the bowl but rather one edge is aligned with the bowl’s lip. This is so that the egg will end up closer to the edge of the sieve and will thus be easier to tilt out into the water. Gently pour in one egg.
The loose egg whites, which would usually cause such a ruckus in the pot, are sifted into the bowl. The egg yolk and the more tightly attached whites are all that’s left.
Then lower the sieve into gently simmering water.
Shake it lightly to transfer the egg into the pot. (You’ll see here that if the egg had been at the lip of the sieve rather than in the middle, it would have been easier for it to get out and into the water).
Simmer for about 4-5 minutes to achieve set whites with a runny yolk.
You can poach several eggs at a time. Crack the eggs into individual bowls. Then add them to the sieve then into the water one at a time. I do 3-5 at a time.
Serve immediately or transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool.
Find out how and why to chill poached eggs and then reheat them later next week when we talk about assembling the perfect Eggs Benedict.
If you’re not entirely confidant that you understand this method for poaching eggs, check out this video from seriouseats.com. The thing I found most helpful about it was learning how to get the egg off of the sieve and into the water. Even after watching the video it took me a few tries to get it right. But from then on, all my poached eggs have been perfect.
Topmost Photo and video are by Leigh Olson.