Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream unless it’s been whipped by whips, just as a poached egg isn’t a poached egg unless it’s been stolen from the woods in the middle of the night. ~ Willy Wonka
How to Poach an Egg to Perfection
A perfectly poached egg can make the heart sing! However, preparing poached eggs strikes fear into the hearts of many home cooks. Be brave! Follow a few simple steps, and you'll be just fine.
Select the freshest eggs you can afford and allow them to come to room temperature. Note: It’s worth it to spring for free range or organic eggs and farm-fresh is best, if you can swing it. We're pretty lucky here on the Island with many roadside eggs stands in both residential and rural areas.
Bring a large sauté pan, half-filled with water to a light simmer over medium heat.
Add a dash of white vinegar to the water. Vinegar helps the whites to coagulate nicely.
Crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin—one egg/bowl or ramekin. It’s easier if you crack all your eggs into bowls ahead of time.
Gently pour the egg from the bowl into the water in one smooth movement. Repeat with the rest of the eggs.
Start timing. Allow the eggs to simmer for 3 minutes for soft-poached and 5 for firmer yolks.
If you’d like to test for doneness, carefully remove an egg from the pan using a slotted spoon. Gently nudge the egg with the back of a spoon. If it feels too soft, return the egg to the simmering water to set up a bit more.
Gently scoop out your beautifully poached eggs using a slotted spoon. Blot eggs on a paper towel and serve. If you’re feeling fussy, you can trim any unruly bits of egg white for a more uniform look.
Of course, you could just treat yourself to an egg poacher pan. But, it's still good to know the basics.