Poached eggs are ubiquitous on menus these days, usually prefaced by the term, farm-fresh. And I’m a sucker for them every time. But poached eggs are so easy to make, there’s no reason to confine them to restaurant meals. Just follow these tips:
Super-Fresh Eggs: Start with the freshest you can find. The whites are thicker, and don’t spread as much, and the membrane enclosing the yolk is stronger. Farmers markets are good sources.
The Right Stuff: Choose a pan that’s wide—a 9-inch diameter is good for four eggs—and not too deep. You need room to maneuver.
Simmer, Don’t Boil: Bring 11/2-inches of water to a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar—distilled white or cider—which helps the whites coagulate, and keep the water at a bare simmer.
Crack and Slide: Crack each egg first into a small bowl or teacup, then slide the naked egg into the water. Repeat, spacing them evenly in the pan, but don’t crowd the pan with more than four eggs. Ignore those who say to stir the water into mini-whirlpools before adding your egg. It doesn’t create a better egg.
Relax: You can leave the eggs alone to cook at a bare simmer for 2 to 3 minutes (for runny yolks) or, if you can’t resist a little action, use a spoon to create gentle undercurrents of water to turn the egg over.
Be Gentle: Scoop up the egg with a slotted spoon and drain it briefly on kitchen towels. If you’re a neatnik, you can trim the ragged edges with scissors or a knife, but handle with care.