One of America’s Favorites – Poached Eggs

September 2, 2013 at 8:23 AM | Posted in Eggs, One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Poached eggs sprinkled with matcha and salt, served on sourdough bread.

Poached eggs sprinkled with matcha and salt, served on sourdough bread.

A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked by poaching, that is, in simmering liquid. This method of preparation is favored because a very consistent and predictable result can be attained with precise timing, as the boiling point of water removes the temperature variable from the cooking process.

 

 

The egg is cracked into a bowl of any size, and then gently slid into a pan of simmering water and cooked until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft. The ‘perfect’ poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust and no raw white remaining.
Fresh eggs will yield the best results. Broken into simmering water, the white will cling to the yolk, resulting in cooked egg white and runny yolk.
To prevent dispersion of the white of the egg, a small amount of vinegar may be added to the boiling water. Stirring the water vigorously to create a vortex may reduce dispersion. Special pans, with several small cups, allow a number of eggs to be poached at the same time. These were a popular utensil for many years but the resultant rubbery texture and “bun-shaped” eggs they produced saw their popularity fade as TV shows and books – especially those on traditional French cooking as exemplified by Julia Child and Elizabeth David – revived interest in basic domestic cookery techniques . Other methods of producing poached eggs, such as using cling film to keep the egg perfectly formed have been documented.
Cooking time is about two and a half minutes if the eggs begin at room temperature, about three minutes if taken from a refrigerator. The exact time depends on the size of the egg, and other factors such as altitude and the design of the poaching apparatus. Dipping the eggs into cold water for a few seconds immediately after taking them out of the boiling water helps prevent over-cooking.

 

 

The term is also applied to a method whereby the egg is placed in a cup, suspended over simmering water, using a special pan called an “egg-poacher“. This is usually a wide-bottomed pan with an inner lid, with holes containing a number of circular cups that each hold one egg, with an additional lid over the top. To cook, the pan is filled with water and brought to a simmer, or a gentle boil. The outer lid holds in the steam, ensuring that the heat surrounds the egg completely. The cups are often lubricated with butter in order to effect easy removal of the cooked egg, although non-stick egg poachers are also available.
The result is very similar to the traditional coddled egg, although these steamed eggs are often cooked for longer, and hence are firmer. Eggs so prepared are often served on buttered toast.

 

 

Poached eggs are used in Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

Poached eggs are the basis for many dishes in Louisiana Creole cuisine, such as Eggs Sardou, Eggs Portuguese, Eggs Hussarde and Eggs St. Charles. Creole poached egg dishes are typically served for brunches.
Several cuisines include eggs poached in soup or broth and served in the soup. In parts of central Colombia, for instance, a popular breakfast item is eggs poached in a scallion/coriander broth with milk, known as changua or simply caldo de huevo (“egg soup”).
The Libyan dish Shakshouka consists of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.
In Italy poached eggs are typically seasoned with grated parmigiano reggiano and butter (or olive oil).
Turkish dish Çılbır consists of poached eggs, yogurt sauce with garlic and butter with red peppers.
In India, fried eggs are most commonly called “poached,” but are sometimes also known as bullseyes, as a reference to “bullseye” targets, or “half-boil” in Southern India, indicating that they are partly cooked. They are commonly served alone or as accompaniment to a variety of dishes including roti, dosa, or paratha. Bullseyes are commonly prepared over pans smeared with a variety of oils such as mustard oil and vegetable oil. During or after the frying stage, they are sometimes sprinkled lightly with condiments such as black pepper, chili powder, green chilis and salt. Bullseyes are a common street vendor dish in South India. Some restaurants also refer to them as “egg fry” (over hard) or “egg half fry” (sunny-side up).

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