Monday, 30 April 2012

Poached Eggs, why so difficult?

If I have a pound for every question I've had about poached eggs then I could have retired some time ago.Just how do I get eggs that round and perfect?It seems to be the one reason why so few people make them at home and why they order them when they stay with us at Burpham Country House.

So how do you poach an egg?

We'll to be fair until Jackie and I took over the Hotel I had never poached an egg in my life. Firstly, and here's a confession, I don't actually like them. For me it has to be scrambled eggs or even a fried. However in these health conscious times poached eggs are having a huge renaissance.
At first we bought a poaching pan, which certainly made what looked like a poached egg but we were quickly told by the Visit Britain team that this was not a poached egg but a steamed egg and must be described as such.
Looking up numerous cook books gave a lot of advice, often conflicting,: Use a deep tall pan or  use a frying pan, put vinegar in the water or don't put vinegar in the water, swirl the water with a whisk to create a vortex or don't bother just pop them was all rather confusing and results were variable to say the least.
The one thing they all agreed on was that the egg should be fresh. But how fresh?
From my experience the last point is critical. The egg has to be super fresh, i.e. laid that day. At this stage the egg white will be thick and hold together. Every day after that the egg white just gets more watery until all you have is a bowlful of white water. Confusingly eggs are given a long shelf life and stored in the aisle of a supermarket. In my  kitchen the eggs i want for poaching are stored in a fridge at 3 degrees.

So cutting to the chase how do I do it.

  • First use a very fresh egg, either from your own chickens (like our girls) or buy direct from the farm and insist on the ones laid that day.
  • Put in fridge and keep cool.
  • Use a deep pan and bring to a simmer. Add splash of white wine vinegar
  • Use a whisk and gently stir to create a gentle vortex.
  • Crack egg directly in to centre  or break into a cup and pour the egg in.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes depending on size of egg and take out with slotted spoon.
  • Its that easy.

Good luck

Professional tip. 

If you want to create a lot of poached eggs follow all the steps above and after 2 minutes plunge into iced water. This stops the cooking. When you need an egg drop back into the simmering water for 2 more minutes. Part cooked eggs can be kept for few days in the fridge.
This is particularly good tip if you're doing a dinner party and want to serve poached eggs with asparagus and hollandaise.  You can trim the eggs when cold to make super neat


A new Blog for guests and friends

Welcome to the new blog for all our foody friends and guests.

Since I started cooking many of you have asked for recipes, samples and advice: Such as how do you cook a poached egg or how do you make piccalilli?

So in advance of a printed book I've decided to create this blog and hopefully will post recipes and suppliers online.

I hope you enjoy

Best regards