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Poached Eggs

Poached EggI didn’t feel well this weekend (I’ll go more into that in another post) so Beloved cooked dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday – in fact, he did some of the shopping as well.  And when he came home from shopping, he brought with him three new DVDs:  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Public Enemy and Julie and Julia.  We watched Julie and Julia Sunday afternoon before Beloved flew to Arizona for a short business trip, and I have to say I loved the film.

To a point.

Don’t get me wrong – Meryl Streep, whom I admire more than I can say, was absolutely brilliant as Julia Child.  In fact, the entire cast was wonderful.  It was just the whole premise that got my panties in a wad, so to speak.  Granted, the idea of cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year was inspired, but by the time it got to the scene where Mrs. Powell had been featured in the New York Times and had 60-some-odd messages on her answering machine from publishers, editors and literary agents, I was yelling at the television.

“OH, SHUT UP FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!”

“Jealous?” Beloved asked.

“Just a wee little bit,” I replied, trying not to foam at the mouth too much.

Because the woman had never EATEN AN EGG IN HER ENTIRE LIFE, much less poached one.

I will say that I got immense satisfaction from the scene where it took three people and at least as many tries for her to successfully poach an egg.

Because it just ain’t that hard.

Eggs.

Water.

Vinegar.

That’s it, people.

I can poach one helluva an egg – and I don’t even care that much for poached eggs.

Am I making too much out of this?  Probably.  Because my recipe for poached eggs is based on a Julia Child recipe, too – the one in From Julia Child’s Kitchen, a much more informal and basic cookbook than Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Mrs. Child recommends not poaching more than six eggs at one time, which is perfect for me since I really only poach eggs when I’m making Eggs Benedict.  And since Eggs Benedict is Beloved’s all-time favorite breakfast, 6 eggs will feed the two of us perfectly – four for him, and two for me (if I even eat it – if I’m not crazy about poached eggs, I care even less for Eggs Benedict).

But the recipe is spot-on.

Poached Eggs

serves 4 – 6

4 – 6 fresh eggs

Large saucepan of boiling water

2 quarts simmering water in a wide, fairly shallow pan (water should be about 2 1/2 inches deep)

1/4 to 1/3 cup plain white vinegar

Bowl of very hot water

Slotted spoon

A straight pin (or an egg pricker, if you have one – I do not)

Pierce the large end of each egg with the pin about 3/8 of an inch deep; lower the eggs into the saucepan boiling water for exactly 10 seconds, and remove immediately and set aside – this will help the egg keep it’s shape during the poaching process.

Pour the vinegar into the pan of simmering water; the vinegar will also help the egg retain it’s shape when poaching.  Crack an egg sharply against the side of the pan and, holding the egg as closely to the surface of the simmering water as you can manage, break open the egg quickly and slide it into the water.  Set a kitchen timer for 4 minutes and quickly repeat with the remaining eggs.

Increase the heat slightly if you need to in order to keep the water simmering, and when the 4 minutes is up, remove the eggs with the slotted spoon, one at a time, in the order you dropped them into the water – depending on how quickly you got them into the water, you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds between each egg – and place them in the bowl of hot water.   This will help keep them warm as well as remove the taste of the vinegar.  They should remain warm as long as the water in the bowl is hot; Julia Child says they cannot overcook if the water does not go over 120 degrees, but I have found that to not necessarily be true, so serve them as quickly as possible.





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