Egg Poaching 101

what a beaut.

For a long time I considered egg poaching to be an elusive art.  It was one of those things I thought it wasn’t even worth attempting myself; that the sorcery it took to produce those little pillows of breakfast bliss was best left in the magic hands of line cooks and kitchen pros. I was (not surprisingly) so wrong.

I love eggs.  Could eat them for every meal kind of love them.  Fried, boiled, scrambled…doesn’t matter, I can’t get enough.  This is likely a product of eating them nearly every Sunday morning of my childhood.  Sunday mornings were for inhaling bagels and learning the various ways to cook eggs by watching my father at the stove.   He would cook, I would observe, and together we would tragically belt along to whatever Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder album was blaring in the background (and yes, I mean album, as in records).

Somewhere along the way I remember being in a diner with my mother and she ordered poached eggs.  Dad didn’t poach eggs, so naturally I didn’t know what they were.  I ordered them too, and my life was changed.  I started ordering them every time I went out for breakfast.  They were a restaurant food, impossible for me to even consider reproducing at home.  I thought it took master skills to poach.


I like to imagine myself snowed in one Sunday morning, needing my poached egg fix, knowing the only way to have them was to conquer my fears and do it myself.  Honestly it was probably just a regular day, but regular days deserve poached eggs too.

I watched online tutorials. I called on the expertise of my Grandfather whose father had owned a luncheonette in Manhattan to get him to talk me through the process.  And I dove in. I never looked back. I am now an egg poacher. Have been for some time.

I would now like to impart my technique to you, the internet humans, so that you too can have breakfast bliss.  Follow these steps to poach your eggs and serve ‘em up with the carbs of your choice.

“Egg Pillow on Toast Bed”. photograph still life.
  1. Fill a large pot 2/3 of the way with water. Heat over medium-high heat until the water is just about at a simmer (look for small bubbles covering the bottom of the pan).  Turn it down to medium heat so the water does not progress to a rolling boil
  2. Crack an egg in a small shallow bowl (this makes it much easier to get the egg in the water when the time comes).
  3. Use a spoon to stir the water in a clockwise motion to create a vortex. Once a steady whirlpool appears, remove the spoon and swiftly drop the egg into the pot, getting as close as possible to the water and aiming to place it directly into the center of the swirling water.
  4. DON’T PANIC. EGG WILL SWIRL WITH WATER. IT WILL BE OK. Let the egg circle back on itself and come to rest naturally. Keep an eye on your water making sure it stays at a steady simmer. No boiling.
  5. After 3 ½ minutes, use a slotted spoon to lift your masterpiece out of the water.  Give it a very soft shake to see if the whites have set and the egg is holding its shape. Give it a poke. I bet its ready to be devoured.
  6. You’ve done it. Well done, you. Serve that bad boy up with a little salt and peppa and dig in.
Egg Poaching 101

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