Poaching an egg is an important art
If my children or I have a busy day planned, I will always cook for breakfast, two poached eggs on Vogel’s bread, often served with bacon. This breakfast gets me through until 3pm and I will not even feel hungry during this time.
Egg yolks are a rich source of iron and the whites have protein, so they are the perfect food to give us a lift in positive energy. Everyone feels happy after eating an egg.
In his highly regarded cookbook, Le Guide Culinaire (1903), Escoffier, the most distinguished chef of the 20th century, describes the egg: “Of ALL the products put to use by the art of cookery, not one is so fruitful of variety, so universally liked, and so complete in itself as the egg.”
How to poach an egg
Be organised. Eggs will take 2 -3 minutes to poach. The toast needs to be on and the bacon needs to be nearly crisp before you start poaching.
1. Use a pot, not a frying pan. Fill the pot with 10-12cm of water and bring to a rolling boil.
2. Add a splash of vinegar — any type will do, I even use balsamic if I do not have a white vinegar or lemon juice. The vinegar helps set the white and make it more white.
3. Add a pinch of salt. (Optional, I do not bother).
4. With a slotted spoon, create a whirlpool with the boiling water.
5. Take the eggs from the fridge. Crack them directly into the pot, no more than 4 at a time — any more will chill the water down too much and it will stop boiling. With the spoon, keep the whirlpool going.
6. Fresh eggs will sink a little in the boiling water. The white should also stay attached to the egg. If it falls away, the egg is not fresh but you can still eat it.
7. While the eggs are cooking, put the toast on the plates and lay the bacon on the toast.
8. Using the slotted spoon, remove the eggs (some people trim the white to make the egg look more perfect) and place on toast and bacon.
9. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Storage of eggs
Eggs will last longer if kept in the fridge. For poaching, I will use directly from the fridge but for baking, you need to bring them out 30-60 minutes beforehand to come to room temperature.
Poaching eggs for a large group
You can pre-poach eggs and put them into a water-bath (bowl) of cold water until needed. To warm through, put them in simmering water for 20-30 seconds and serve. This is how large hotel kitchens cope with poached eggs en masse.