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Perfect Poached Eggs

Well, perfect for me, anyway.

Right out of the fridge two extra large eggs, out of the shell and into a bowl.

Start up the white toast, or an english muffin.

Get about a quart of sallted water boiling in a sauce pan.

When water comes to a full boil add a good splash of cider, or red wine vinegar.

Stir boiling water into a vortex and gently pour eggs into center of vortex, and cook for 2 minutes, 45 seconds.

Butter toast a minute before egg timer goes off.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Remove eggs with slotted ladle and drain well.

Place eggs on buttered toast and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.


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  1. That is exactly how I do it. Well, except for Sundays when I make a hollandaise sauce.

    Come to think of it, I do turn the heat all the way down before creating the vortex and pouring the eggs in, to avoid bubbling water. Then I turn it back up.

    1. I think having fresh eggs is more important than the vortex. I usually cook 4-6 eggs at a time, so the vortex is meaningless. Just have the water at a bare simmer, and BE PATIENT!

      1. Doesn't the vortex create a much unwanted whirlpool of separated egg whites? I make my poached eggs by cracking the eggs into a shallow bowl and then easing them into the water similar to the way an old man enters his bath. I prefer the whites remaining in close proximity to the yolks. Do yours stay completely intact? Sounds like a lot of the whites are lost.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheese Boy

          It's a technique I've seen on some cooking show. Gordon Ramsay does it and says that the swirling helps keep the egg white together. I think the vortex method works best if you're using a wide, shallow pan. In a saucepan it didn't seem to make any difference either way.

          1. re: Cheese Boy

            Depends on how fresh the eggs are. The fresher, the more the whites stay together. The vortex is just part of the ritual. For fun more than anything else. I added that step after seeing it on an old Julia Child cooking show from the '70's about ten years ago.

          2. I read somewhere recently that the depth of the pan affects how the eggs turn out. The recommendation was to use a taller saucepan with more water. I tried it and the resulting eggs were rounder and more, um. . .voluptuous! The whites didn't spread as much, either.

            1. I just made some poached eggs for the first time in years yesterday, and before going about it, I did some searching on this interwebby thing to find out what is recommended. Most recommend using only white vinegar as cider, or red wine, balsamic, etc, could effect the flavor and color of the eggs.

              I did not find the vortex thing to work, the first egg I dropped in after whirlpooling the water, lost a lot of its white, while the second egg without the whirlpool hung together. I think cracking the egg into a ramekin or small bowl before gently sliding it into the water is more effective.

              Also timing would depend on the size of the egg - wouldn't it?

              1 Reply
              1. re: LStaff

                Yes. The cider and red wine certainly do affect the flavor. And, personally, those are the flavors I prefer and I probably use a heavier dose than most would. I haven't experimented with balsamic yet as I think that would be too sweet for my buds.

              2. I don't use any vinegar, and no stirring. I simply put egg rings (those for pan fried eggs) into lightly simmering water, and pour the eggs one by one into each egg ring. Make sure that the water is high enough to cover the whole egg.

                To make sure that the top of the egg (around the yolk) is not undercooked, I cover the pan so that the steam inside cooks the top.

                I never fail with this method!

                2 Replies
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Never fails my granny either! But if I were ever served these at a restaurant, I would have to have serious go around with the chef on what "poached" really means!

                  1. re: Pablo

                    I guess you are right. I guess the look does tell the truth because the eggs always turn out to be perfectly round...:)

                    But the consistency is perfect, and that's all I care about at home ;D

                2. I've seen pictures of silcone "poach pods" Has anyone tried these yet. They look like a great solution.

                  1. I hesitate to try the "vortex method", but am intrigued!

                    I use lots of water - as stated above (taller saucepan/deeper water) and white or rice vinegar and bring to a very gentle simmer. I use my ladel to carefully place the egg in the water and simmer till done... never checked to time... probably about one minute. I use the ladel again to transfer the poached egg to either a mound of fresh hericot vert or a salad bowl filled with greens tossed with olive oil and sea salt, or onto toast.