So for the extent of my exclusion diet, I have (as a general rule) been avoiding eggs, wheat and dairy. But yesterday, as I sat in my favourite coffee shop (Chaplin’s, Woodmill Lane, if you’re asking, which you weren’t) working furiously away on my laptop and taking advantage of their free Wi-Fi, I developed a poached-egg craving. So I thought, stuff the exclusion diet, today I’m going to eat what I want.
Poached eggs have been my nemesis for the extent of my cooking career (I use the term “career” loosely, in the way that one might describe wearing clothes, or any other necessary daily activity). Without one of those special cheat-pans, my eggs just dissolve into a stringy mass of albumin floating in a sea of frothy salt-water, the yolk sitting isolated at the bottom of the pan, long-since detached from its white partner. Yesterday, all that changed. “But Mali, why didn’t you just use the cheat-pan like you always do?” I hear you ask. Truth is, an egg just tastes better when poached the “real” way. Plus, when something gets the better of me, I have a tendency to take it as a personal insult, and I was not about be beaten by an egg (no pun intended). So after a bit of online research I armed myself with a loaf of Chaplin’s-baked bread and went home to set about my eggy business. The result was a delicious, in-tact poached egg, with yolk oozing seductively onto my soft, white, liberally-buttered bread.
Ironically, before I started cooking, I had a stomach ache, but after I had finished devouring my egg, wheat and dairy feast, the stomach ache disappeared. So perhaps my problems are not food-related after all.
Between last night and this morning (perhaps in my sleep?), I seem to have mastered the art of poaching, as today’s eggs were even better than yesterday’s. This wouldn’t be a true Korsten-Chronicle if I didn’t post a recipe, so I will share my method with you.
The Perfect Poached Egg
You will need:
- 1 fresh egg – Preferably organic free-range, unless you’re broke like me, in which case your bog-standard egg will do (Hint: if your bathroom is stocked with one-ply toilet paper, you can probably forgo the free-range thing with a clear conscience)
- 1 tsp vinegar (I used white vinegar, but not really sure if it matters what kind you use)
- A large pinch of salt
- 1 medium sized pan
- A small coffee cup
- A wooden spoon (or his plastic cousin)
- A slotted spoon or holey spatula (i.e. with holes – not a consecrated spatula)
1. Fill the pan with water, add salt and bring to a rolling boil.
2. Add the vinegar and reduce the heat to bring the water to a very sparse boil.
3. Meanwhile, crack the egg into the cup.
4. Using the wooden spoon, stir the water in a clockwise motion until a whirlpool forms.
5. Pour the egg into the water, following the direction of the vortex.
6. You do not need to bring the temperature of the water back up. Just leave it be and start your timer: about 1 ½ minutes for a soft yolk, and a bit longer (2-3 minutes) if you’re of the hard-boiled persuasion.
7. Remove the egg with the slotted spoon (requires delicacy!) and set aside on a wooden board to allow the excess water to drain off. Carefully remove any formless white bits from the surface of the egg before transporting it to your chosen dish.
8. Don’t forget to season – nobody likes a bland egg.