COOL TIP: Perfecting the Elusive Poached Egg

Why is cooking nature’s most perfect food so perfectly puzzling?  It’s not you, it’s the egg.  Alas, the healthiest way to prepare an egg turns out to be the most challenging.   We’ve spent the better part of one year coming up with the most foolproof poached egg recipe and have boiled it down to three easy techniques.   We’re going to show you the culinary holy grail: how to produce the perfectly poached egg (a.k.a. the P-egg).  Note: our recommended recipes assume that you will be using a medium-sized egg.  If you are using larger eggs, the cooking time might need to be increased.

Why A Poached Egg?

Because it is the healthiest way to eat an egg.   Fried and scrambled eggs are cooked at high heat, thus destroying some of the egg’s important nutrients.  Each egg offers you only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, (especially biotin), minerals, and carotenoids.  However, cooking eggs at high temperatures will reduce the Vitamin A and D levels along with their antioxidants by up to 20%.   It also oxidizes the egg yolk, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.    The bottom line:  if you can cook your eggs at a low-heat, you are getting the best that the egg can offer you.

Why Not A Boiled Egg?

If a hard or soft boiled egg floats your boat, then sail on.  But the poached egg is not only an elegant offering, but it is the best way to enjoy the custard-like mouthfeel which makes the egg an almost divine eating experience.   Think of a warm, velvety chocolate custard desert and you aren’t that far from the poached egg’s consistency……without the chocolate.  Plus, do you really want to spend your precious minutes peeling an egg?

RECIPE #1:  POACHING IN WATER

  1. Bring a half-full pot of water to a light boil  (bubbles at the bottom of the pan, but the water is relatively still.
  2. Crack two or more eggs into a shallow dish and then slide the eggs into the lightly boiling water.
  3. Cook for 4-5 minutes in the uncovered pot.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve warm.

Voila!   Perfect P-eggs every time.

RECIPE #2:  POACHING IN SILICONE CUPS

We purchased three silicone cups online  (they run between $2-4 each).   Make sure they are food-grade silicone.   Then take the following steps.

  1. Bring a pot with about 2 inches of water to a steam-producing boil.
  2. Crack an egg into a lightly greased silicone cup and placed the eggs into the lightly boiling water.
  3. Cook for 6-7 minutes in a covered pot.   They are effectively being steamed, not boiled.
  4. Remove with tongs and slide them into a serving dish.

These little egg cookers really work.  You can do the same with a ceramic ramekin, but we find the silicone cups to be easier to use as they don’t retain heat and are both lightweight and easy to clean.

RECIPE #3:   SLOW COOKED EGGS

This method requires the use of a sous vide cooker.  We use the Anova device, but you can buy any decent sous vide cooker for under $100.   If you enjoy eating eggs and meats, the sous vide will prove to be an excellent addition to your kitchen.  If you are vegetarian, then don’t waste your money, as most veggies must be cooked at high heat to break down the cellulose.  Here are the four easy steps:

  1. Using a sous-vide cooker bring the water temperature up to exactly 145 degrees.
  2. Place as many eggs as needed into a small bowl and submerge the bowl into the water.  The bowl will help prevent the eggs from cracking.
  3. Cook for between 45 minutes to an hour.  At one hour, the egg whites will be thoroughly cooked and the yolks will be thick, but still runny.
  4. Remove with tongs and place them into an ice-water bath for a few minutes before opening the eggs.

While this method may seem the most time consuming, not all is as it seems.   You can cook as many eggs as you like and then place any unused eggs in the refrigerator for up to a week.   Then, each morning, you simply take these pre-cooked eggs, crack them open into a small pot of water and in less than one minute, you’ll have yourself a perfectly poached egg.   Or simply place the uncracked egg into that same water and it’ll heat up in the shell.  When you open it, the egg will have been transformed into a P-egg in less time than it takes to heat up a cup of cold-brew coffee.

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