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How to Poach an Egg

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Poached Egg
Jessica Harlan

Poached eggs are an elegant egg preparation that can work for breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on what you pair them with. And once you master the technique, it is not at all difficult to poach a egg. Read on to learn what kitchen tools you need, and the steps you take to poach an egg.

What You'll Need

  • Medium saucepan
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Teaspoon
  • Paper towels
  • Plate
  • Eggs
  • Small prep bowl or custard cup
  • Slotted spoon

How to Poach Eggs

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and add about 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Heat over medium-low heat until the water just simmers. The water is ready when you can see bubbles collecting on the bottom and sides of the pan, occasionally rising to the surface, and the surface of the water quivers slightly. While the water is heating, place a layer of paper towels on a plate.
  2. Break an egg into a custard cup. Holding the cup directly over the water, slide the egg into the water. Immediately use the slotted spoon to keep the whites of the egg from spreading, spooning it over the yolk. Repeat with 2 or 3 more eggs. Cook the egg in the simmering water for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on whether you want the egg yolk to be runny or hard. You can test the yolk by lifting the egg out of the water with the slotted spoon and gently prodding the yolk with a clean finger.
  3. When the eggs are cooked to the desired doneness, remove them one at a time with the slotted spoon. Use a paper towel to blot excess water off the egg and let rest on the paper towel-lined plate until you've made the desired quantity of eggs. Eggs can be reheated by turning off the burner under the pan, using the slotted spoon to gently lower them into the hot water and heating them for 1 minute.

Ways to Serve Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are perhaps most famous for their presence in the classic dish Eggs Benedict, but the truth is that they can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways. Here are some of our favorites.

  • On a toasted, buttered English muffin, sprinkled lightly with grated Parmesan cheese
  • On a grit cake or risotto cake, or on a leftover potato pancake, reheated in the oven
  • Atop a pile of baby salad greens or baby spinach that are tossed with vinaigrette
  • On Corn Pancakes, topped with salsa or diced avocado
  • On a bowl of brown rice mixed with Asian vegetables and seasonings
  • On a hamburger
  • Atop a bowl of fettuccine, tossed with olive oil, cooked pancetta bits and parmesan cheese
  • On a bowl of posole (New Mexican hominy stew)
  • In a bowl of ramen

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