Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: A Perfect Poach

Last weekend I woke up on Sunday morning passably hungover to overcast skies, wanting nothing more than to enjoy a perfectly poached egg. Congruous was the realization that though poaching is my preperation of choice, I had never actually poached an egg myself. It was the perfect simple project for a day with such limited ambition!
I decided to do a simplified benedict (no drive or patience for hollandaise this particular morning), with english muffins, Niman Ranch apple wood smoked bacon and green heirloom tomatoes.
As much as I love my cast iron skillet, I've been enjoying my thick cut bacon prepared in the oven. It is far less greasy and a nice even cook. To do so, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a lipped baking sheet with tin foil, then place a wire cooling rack over the foil. Lay the bacon flat across the rack and cook for about 15 minutes or to desired crispness. Turn off the oven and let sit until your eggs are ready to serve.
Common Poaching mistakes I've learned are using too much water and with too much heat. The water shouldn't be rapidly boiling, rather a torrid simmer. I also remembered hearing that adding vinegar and salt to the water will aid in holding the egg white's form. My first pass was sub-par, overcooking the yolks. After a second pass, this is what I found worked best:
First, retrieve a medium-sized skillet or shallow pan that has a lid. Fill the skillet with only about 3 inches of water. Put the skillet on high heat and cover to speed up the heating time. Meanwhile, carefully crack each egg into individual measuring cups or small bowls.
When the water in the skillet boils, remove the cover. Add one tablespoon of vinegar (I use apple cider) to the water, and some kosher salt. Lower the lip of each egg-cup 1/2-inch below the surface of the water. Let the eggs ease out into the water. Immediately return the lid to the pan and turn off the heat. Set a timer for exactly three minutes for medium-firm yolks. More or less for runnier or firmer yolks. While the eggs cook, you have time to toast the english muffins and slice the tomatoes. When the timer goes off, remove the cover and lift each egg from the water with a slotted spoon. Lay the bacon and tomato slices on each piece of toast and then gently top with a poached egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like a little chipotle hot sauce on mine. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Nathan, please come home and cook breakfast for us!
    PS: Mother's Day is coming soon