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How to make the perfect poached egg

By Leah Eskin
Chicago Tribune

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  • Poached Egg

    1 fresh egg

    1 tablespoon vinegar (white, wine or cider)

    CALIBRATE: Fill a large saucepan with water. Add vinegar. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Then lower to less than a simmer: Tiny bubbles will be visible on the bottom of the pan, but none will break the surface of the water.

    STRAIN: Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Crack in the egg. Gently rock the sieve back and forth – some white may seep through.

    POACH: Lower the sieve into the water. Rock the sieve back and forth a couple of times. Tip out egg; remove sieve. Let egg poach 4 minutes, turning once with a soft spatula.

    DRAIN: Use a slotted spoon to scoop out egg. Set on a clean kitchen towel to dry, briefly. Serve at once or hold in a bowl of warm water up to 30 minutes.

    SERVE: Nice on a buttered English muffin half, perhaps with a strip of smoked salmon underneath and a spoonful of hollandaise on top.

    Yield: 1 serving.



Julia Child offered to teach me to poach an egg. And I declined. I had my reasons; I was in labor. But I regret the opportunity missed.

I know how it’s supposed to work: the steaming water, the splash of vinegar, the swirling vortex. Nonetheless, I end up with something that looks like a supernova, surrounded by nebulae. A mess.

I daydream of smoked salmon Benedict smothered in hollandaise and achieve a nightmare of egg strands.

So this year, I decided to try something different: Learn. I opened a big reference book and peered at it anxiously while my teens rolled their eyes. They sighed: Try YouTube.

There I found a new technique, involving a fine mesh strainer. Which worked. The strainer drains off pre-straggle. And it makes egg handling easy.

That’s the thing about motherhood: It’s always an education.

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