Poached egg gadget or appliance?
Has anyone used an egg poacher of ANY kind that works well? I lose too much of the egg when I put it in hot water--vinegar or no. I'd like to find a gizmo that cooks the whites firm and leaves the yolks liquid. Thank you!
While you're searching for a gadget, I'll relate a restaurant technique that works (from Mildred Pearce, a Toronto place with a big Sunday brunch crowd.)
Bring 1 inch of water in a large heavy saucepan to the simmer. Add the eggs carefully. Cover and keep the pot on simmer until finished, 3-5 minutes.
You can adjust the size of the pan if only a few poached eggs are required, and the depth of water can be lowered if the eggs should look yellow on top.
Each egg can be lifted out, in it's entirety, and there is very little egg white left on the bottom. I don't think I have ever broken one with this method.
You don't need a gizmo, you just need the right recipe. There are a number of things that can lead to the breakup of your egg white when poaching an egg. The biggest thing is to use fresh eggs. The longer the egg sits, the worse off your whites will be. However, those older eggs are perfect to hard-boil. Next, use a skillet to poach them; you don't want your eggs to have a long descent through the liquid before settling. Last, drop the eggs into boiling water, then take the skillet COMPLETELY off the heat (as in move the skillet off the burner, don't just turn the heat off) so that the turbulent boiling water doesn't screw up the whites.
I do my poached eggs the Cook's Illustrated way and they come out great every time. Fill an 8 to 10 inch skillet almost to the rim, then add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. While the water is heating up, crack the eggs into small cups with handles on them. When the water is boiling, slip the eggs into the boiling water, cover the skillet, and take it off of the heat. For firm yolks (or big eggs), let them sit in the water for 4-1/2 minutes. If you want them a little less firm, go for 4 minutes. Take the eggs out with a slotted spoon, and do what you will with them. If you want to save them for later, drop them in cold water and store them in the fridge.
I love Cook's Illustrated.
I poach my eggs in the microwave and use this little egg poacher and muffin pan that holds 3 eggs. Obviously, this will not work if you are poaching for a crowd!
Lose too much egg???!??? I think you're just being picky, to be honest. There are 2 main parts to the egg white, there's the watery portion, which you will likely lose most of and there's the thicker egg white which surrounds the yolk. The fresher the egg, the more of the thick white you will have, thus less lost. Aside from that it's just a damn egg, not truffles or something. You can't be losing that much. The expensive eggs will cost you $3.50 for a dozen at the grocery store...
Mike says you are supposed to stir the water just a little, creating a little vortex, and put your egg in that. I can't figure out how that would work, but he says it does.
I bought an egg poaching pan. It is a shallow little pan that has an insert, four little cups that you put the eggs in, and a glass lid. I'm not personally a big fan of poached eggs, so this saves me having to put forth the time and effort to learn to do them properly in a regular pan for the few times that I cook them for Mike.
"Mike says you are supposed to stir the water just a little, creating a little vortex, and put your egg in that. I can't figure out how that would work, but he says it does."
That's what I do...drop the egg into the center of the little vortex. Seems like the vortex keeps the whites close together until they're solidified enough. They still don't come out as perfect as they can if you use a poacher, but it's good enough for me.
Okay, I loathe poached eggs (it's the goo-thing), but I hate having a gadget that I will use only once in a blue moon cooking eggs for friends even more. I have learned through diligence and perseverence to poach an egg using the 'classic' method described by other CH's on this thread. Have some fun! Develop the skill and impress your friends with the non-gadget poached egg. ;-)