Poaching an egg is an easy technique once you learn how to properly do it. Many people are fearful of breaking the egg or ending up with soggy, runny eggs, but I have a few tips to help you become a pro at poached eggs.
This healthy cooking technique requires no added fat, and it is fast enough for even a busy morning. (Worried about the cholesterol in this "perfect protein" food? Check out this article to see why eggs are excellent any time of day.)
I put together a short video demonstrating the process, along with a list of helpful hints.
To keep eggs from getting too hard, the water should be about 180 degrees Fahrenheit--not boiling.
You'll know your water is ready when there are tiny bubbles in the bottom of the pan.
Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the pan to help keep the egg protein from disintegrating in the pan. The acid in the vinegar acts as a coagulant.
Give the water a few swirls with your wooden spoon to help keep the egg in the center of the pan.
Never crack the egg over the water bath. Instead, crack it into a shallow dish and slide it into the water just above the surface.
The egg will sink to the bottom, then rise as it cooks.
Poach eggs ahead of time and store in water. Reheat them in a water bath when ready to eat.
A soft poached egg takes about 3 minutes.
Serve on a slice of whole wheat toast with wilted spinach. Add on a cup of skim milk and two clementines, and you've got a hearty breakfast: 400 calories, 8 g fat, 26 g protein, and 9 g fiber.
While poached eggs are usually associated with eggs Benedict, a heavy dish made with Hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon and an English muffin, there are plenty of other ways to eat them. Runny egg yolks make a great sauce or dressing in many dishes. In addition to serving the poached eggs on toast, you can also serve them:
atop salads for a very European twist
on fat-free refried beans
over brown rice and steamed vegetables
atop whole-wheat pasta and tomato sauce
with toast points for dipping
on a whole-wheat English muffin with two slices of Canadian bacon for a lighter version of eggs Benedict.