The Perfect Poach

The first time I tried to poach an egg directly into water, it was a total disaster.  The white scattered everywhere and I felt totally defeated.  With much trial and error I now know a fool proof method.  Yes there are many devices on the market to “help” with the process but believe me when I say, the eggs poached in those little cups or other wares do not produce the same results.  So, get over it!  This method works and you will love the results.  I promise!

There are a few things that make this process less intimidating:

First, start with a fresh egg.  As an egg ages, the white deteriorates which is why some poached eggs go floppy and are surrounded by tendrils of white.

Second, is acidulated water.  In simpler terms, this is adding acid (usually distilled white vinegar) to the water which helps tighten the white so it will not run all over.  Some people add the vinegar to the water when heating it up but the method I like is cracking the raw egg directly into 1/2 c of vinegar and allowing it to sit for 5 minutes before cooking.  This really help the egg keep its shape.

Third, bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat until the water is at a gentle simmer.  If you put the egg in rapidly boiling water, the white will scatter all over.

Recipe:                                                            Makes 2

1c distilled white vinergar

2 large, fresh eggs 

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Pour 1/2 c vinegar into 2 small bowls.  Crack one egg into each bowl, taking care not to break the yolk; let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a shallow saucepan of water to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat and bring to a gentle simmer.  Working closely to the surface of the water, slip the eggs with the vinegar into the water one by one.  Cook for exactly 2 minutes or little longer if you like it more set.  Halfway through the cooking process, slip a thin spatula or slotted spoon under each egg to make sure they do not stick to the bottom.  Carefully remove eggs and place them on a clean towel to drain.  Trim edges with kitchen shears or knife for uniformity if necessary.

To serve, season with salt and pepper.

Do Ahead:

That’s right!  Who knew you can do these up to a day before?  To do so, immediately transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and allow to cool.  Using a slotted spoon or thin spatula, transfer them to a plate.  Cover; chill in the refrigerator.  Re-warm in a saucepan of gently simmering water for 1 minute right before serving.  The yolks will remain runny and delicious.  Serve by itself, on top of a salad, eggs benedict or whatever way makes your heart and stomach happy!

You can do it!  Let me know how it works out.


7 responses to “The Perfect Poach

  1. Dave Mac Pherson

    Her Majesty Queen Jeanne,
    Now I know you really deserve your title! You have captured a new blogger. Your loyal culinary subject, Prince Dave

  2. Congratulations Mom, looks great!

  3. Get Poaching! Thanks for the comments.

  4. Dear QJ

    Fantastic! I’m so happy to make a real poached egg. You’ll have millions of loyal subjects soon. Love you, Jackson

  5. Terri Schider

    I did it! I’ve been trying to poach an egg for 30 years and I finally did it. I think it’s the vinegar – and following the directions helps, too! I’m making a dish we recently had at a buffet – salmon topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Not that I ever doubted it, but you ARE the queen. It’s a happy day. Have you ever thought of designing playing cards with you as the queen? Your recipes could be on the flip side…I’m just sayin’.

  6. Never thought of the playing cards but good idea! The perfect poach! So glad it worked for you. Fool proof, right? I am so proud.

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