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Poached eggs - Back to Basics 22

Okay, a real Back to Basics this one, poached eggs. Poaching eggs is an art, and when done well they are light and delicate and provide an inbuilt sauce via a runny yolk.



You can get egg poachers for the microwave or even do them in a cup in the microwave if you don’t mind either a bit of uncooked white and/or a big explosion/clean up after breakfast. Me, I do mine the old fashioned way, this is how.

Firstly, we need a fresh egg for these, I am lucky, I have chickens, so, when they are in the mood to lay, I get fresh eggs, these were still warm from the chicken’s bum, if you do not live with chickens, just make sure you get the longest best before that you can. Have a look at this egg.


See how firm this egg is? The older the egg the more broken down the white is, I prefer an older egg for my omelettes as they are easier to beat smooth, but for this, fresher is better.

So we take our pot, fill it with enough water for the egg to float when it is done, we bring it to the boil, we add a good dash of vinegar, this will shock the proteins as soon as the egg hits the water and set the ones on the outside so that we get a lovely ball, instead of a great stringy mess. Adjust the heat until the acidulated water is at a good rolling simmer, break the egg into a small bowl and then stir the water so it makes a swirl, this will also help keep the egg compact, tip your egg gently into the swirling water, repeat until you have all the eggs you require, I made four, three for Mr T, one for me.

There is a lot of info on how long to cook your poached egg on the internet, I say, no one is going to know better than you how you like your egg cooked, so the time will vary from person to person, for me, about three minutes. By this time the egg should be floating at the top of the water, I turn off the heat, lift one egg out of the water on a large spoon, drain the water away and have a look at it, when I shake it, does it still wobble like a raw egg? I like my white cooked through, so that is not what I want. Is it like a solid rubber ball? I like my yolk runny, so that is not what I want. Here, look at my egg.


Firm to the eye, no liquid white, tender to the touch, runny yolk. Perfect.


See? A perfect poached egg.


Want to see what I paired mine with? Of course, the traditional poached egg for breakfast is paired with toast, and Mr T added toast to his, but I struggle with bread and I am being extra good so that I can enjoy a pepper pasty from Littlehampton Fruit and Vegetable Market tomorrow. So instead I fried a cubed potato in a smudge of olive oil, added a bit of diced onion, then a mixture of crushed garlic, chopped rosemary and lemon zest, then, when that was all gorgeous and fragrant, I turned off the heat and stirred in some halved cherry tomatoes and some shredded greens from the garden, in this case, red sorrel and a few tops I nicked off the French shallots.


Utterly exquisite. Who needs toast? Though a bit of smoked ocean trout would have gone nicely with it.........

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