Kitchen & Pantry

How to poach eggs poached-eggOmelets and eggs fried sunny side up are great for breakfast but if you want to ditch the oil part without giving up the egg habit, you can always poach your eggs. Poached eggs are like soft-boiled eggs except that the shell is cracked and the egg is cooked directly in seasoned simmering water.

Start by heating water to simmering, not boiling, point. How much water depends on the size of your cooking pan. For best results, the depth of the water should be at least two inches to allow the egg to float. To making egg-poaching easier, use a pan that is large enough so that the egg does not touch — and stick to — the sides of the pan while cooking.

Add some vinegar and salt to the water.

Crack an egg into a coffee cup.

With a spoon or spatula, swirl the water — yes, swirl, as in a circular motion — and while the water swirls, pour the egg right in.

Why swirl the water? The traditional way of poaching an egg is to lift the still soft egg white and drop it on the yolk so that you get a rather compact egg instead of one with the white all spread out. Think small circle instead of a large one. Now, if you swirl the water, the motion of the water will do the job initially for you. See, the moment the egg is dropped into the water, the yolk (weighty, after all) will sink for a few seconds before breaking into the surface. During those few seconds, the swirling water will make the edges of the egg white move closer to the yolk. Since the yolk is submerged, well, you can imagine what happens — the whites are swirled right on to the top.

Cook the egg for about three minutes so that the white is firm but the yolk is still runny at the center. Lift with a slotted spoon and let the water drip for a few seconds before placing on a plate.

Enjoy your poached egg with toast or use them to make eggs benedict — coming up next.

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