Photography by Darren Bester
Have you watched the movie Run Away Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Where she likes her eggs however her boyfriend at the time likes his… I would do a lot of things for love, but I would not compromise how I like my eggs …! 2 soft poached eggs please and don’t be shy with the Hollandaise Sauce!
Last week, I gave you my top tips on frying the perfect sunny side up egg. This week, we look at tips on poaching to perfection! Poaching the perfect egg can be daunting but if you follow these guidelines, you should be plating up poached eggs to be proud of:-
- Fresh eggs are a non negotiable! Even if you follow all the other steps but your eggs are not fresh, your end result will be disappointing
- Ideally, eggs should be room temperature
- Use a deep large pot
- For every litre of water, add 15ml vinegar (aim for close on 2 litres of water if possible). The vinegar helps the white of the egg to set. Lack of vinegar will result in your egg not shaping nicely so it is a vital ingredient
- Bring the water to the boil and then add your vinegar
- Drop the heat to a gentle simmer
- Stir in a circular motion inside your pot to create a whirlpool
- Crack your egg and gently drop from the centre of the pot into the whirlpool
- Set a timer for ± 2 minutes (for soft poached)
- Leave the egg alone – do not be tempted to touch it
- When the timer go’s off, remove your little beauty with a slotted spoon and if not serving immediately, carefully place in a bowl of cold water (this will stop the cooking process)
- If serving immediately, trim the egg white by cutting off any stragglers and season with salt & pepper
- Never add the salt to your pot during the cooking process –this breaks down egg proteins
- If you placed your eggs in cold water and you are now ready to plate up – all you need to do is gently place your poached eggs in hot salted water for 30 seconds to heat through, drain with a slotted spoon, trim the egg white, season and enjoy!
- Note: You can poach your egg a few hours in advance and leave in cold water in the fridge until required – this helps eliminate pressure & ensures everyone can have breakfast at the same time 🙂
In that moment, when a perfectly fried egg is placed before you, there is nothing better… the outside world seems to fade away and for the next 5 minutes (or less) it’s just you and that egg …
or is that just me? *blush*
My absolute worst is when I order my eggs sunny side up or soft poach and hard overcooked eggs are delivered to my table 🙁 Its a non negotiable for me – I’m not one of those diners who enjoys sending food back to the kitchen but I make an exception with eggs… if it’s not done to my liking, it’s going back – Sorry! I do pre-warn the waiter when ordering, by saying “if my eggs arrive hard, I’m sending them back!” I say this with an angelic smile on my face, to soften the threat I have just delivered and Hubby usually stirs uneasily in the chair opposite me and sometimes makes a bad joke to lighten the mood.
There are certain things a chef has to get right, and eggs are one of them. You might know that often, when a chef applies for a new job, he or she is asked to cook eggs 5 ways – they say a good chef, should be able to make a perfect egg!
When it comes down to it, frying the perfect egg does not require great skill – rather, knowledge, preparation, fresh eggs, quality equipment and concentration …
Here are my top tips for frying the perfect sunny side up egg …
- Ensure your eggs are fresh (the stronger proteins in a fresh egg delivers a firmer shape)
- Eggs should be at room temperature (otherwise you risk overcooking the yolk while waiting for the white to congeal)
- Have your pan, egg lifter, eggs, butter, oil, salt & pepper, serving plate at the ready – Avoid having to focus on other tasks while frying your eggs (so get the bacon and toast out the way and leave your eggs for last as timing is crucial)
- Put the pan on a very low heat, add equal amounts of oil and butter, coat the pan and pour out the excess oil / butter (you don’t need a lot otherwise you end up with greasy eggs)
- Gently crack your eggs into the pan – your fingers should actually connect with the bottom of the pan for a split second as you pull the shells away. This ensures that the eggs are as close to the base of the pan as possible when connecting – creating a gentle ‘landing’
- Allow to cook gently at this low heat, it will take a little longer but you won’t end up with brown crispy edges and the egg will cook evenly
- Do not salt your egg until near the end of your cooking time – Salt breaks down the protein in eggs & we don’t want to do this because we want to maintain a firm shape
- Gently tilt the pan and slide the eggs onto your plate with the assistance of an egg lifter
- Season with salt & pepper
And enjoy the indulgent 5 minutes ahead of you !