how to poach an egg

You know that feeling when you come across something so perfect you just want to tell everyone? Maybe even scream it from a mountain top? I had that moment during lunch yesterday. After a day of going into the city for a meeting, chasing sunshine before and after to snap shots of scones and a chicken and Meyer lemon tagine I'd made the night before (recipes to come soon, I promise), I realized what was causing my faint-like feeling. I was starving. Embarrassing as it is to admit, all I'd eaten was a nibble of some lemon yogurt cranberry scone and a cup of coffee—and it was 1:30pm.

Eggs are always my back up when I need nourishment stat since they're super quick to cook. Ah, but my Ten in 10 promise to start eating healthier creeped into my conscience. Did I really want to smear the cast iron with butter and fry one. Well, of course I did, but I was good. I decided to poach one and have it with multi-grain toast. Problem is I don't do it that often and always mean to teach myself the right technique. Simply Recipes has a good post on the topic and Epicurious has a great how-to-video. I mainly followed the Epicurious directions with the following adaptations:

  • I used one of those pump extra virgin olive oils instead of regular cooking spray.
  • As soon as the egg started to set, I took a cue from Elise at Simply Recipes and shut the heat off. I then gently placed the ladle at the bottom and let it rest there for 2 or 3 minutes while the yolk set.

I should mention my egg slipped out of the ladle much easier than the one on the Epicurious video—I was a bit worried when I saw how much they had to wiggle it. While Elise says it's best to use vinegar so the egg white congeals, the Epicurious method eliminates the need since the whole egg rests nicely in the ladle. There you have it. The news I couldn't wait to share. And it's just in time for your weekend brunch menu.






  • Marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    Amazing how something so simple can be so comforting, nourishing and delicious! Thanks for sharing this poached egg with us. I too am a big fan of eggs. I eat mostly egg whites, but a few times a week I love to have a runny organic brown egg. I prepare mine quite like you did. I use it to top a steaming bowl of veggies with a side of salsa and hummus…maybe some sprouted grain bread or brown rice too. I have read many times that yolks from organic eggs have so many health benefits.
    Lovely photos!! Loving that Ten in ’10!!

  • Caitlin

    Huh, I’ve never tried poaching an egg *in* the ladle. Sounds neat – I normally just consider the wispy bits around the edges “artistic” or “rustic” and move on 🙂 But you do remind me that it’s been a while since I’ve put a poached egg on anything!

  • merry jennifer

    For some reason, I’ve never had a poached egg — much less cooked one myself. I’ve been meaning to, but without knowing exactly the right way to do it, I haven’t bothered trying. Your post gives me a bit of hope. Sounds less intimidating than I imagined. Yay for eggs!

  • Wendy

    Actually, the easiest way to poach an egg is to fill a small fry pan with water and a drop of vinegar. Since the fry pan is shallow, you’ll get the rolling boil you need very quickly. Crack the egg into a cup or prep dish first, and then slide into the fry pan. If the top of the yolk isn’t getting any water, spoon some boiling water over the top until the white sets over the yolk. Test for done-ness by sliding a spider under the egg and gently shaking. About three minutes is right for me. For some reason, the whites always set perfectly using this method, and two eggs will fit in a pan at the same time. Good luck!

  • Jennifer

    Wendy – When poaching an egg you actually *don’t* want a rolling boil since that’s what “breaks” the white. The egg should be slipped into water that is just below the boiling point.

  • jennifer minetree

    i’ve always poached eggs a la julia child’s suggestion of slipping the egg into the vortex of hot water and a bit of vinegar. i never perfected it, and although it stays intact, i’d lose bits of the white. I can’t wait to try some of these methods…they sound much better! thanks.