The Daring Cooks #15 The art of... poaching!

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

First few handy tips passed on by this month's hosts.

So that poaching an egg can be a success:

• Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Farm-fresh eggs will make for the best poached eggs. Old eggs will have a harder time with the whites spreading out all over the place when you place the egg in the water.
• Adding a bit of vinegar or acidic agent to your water will help stabilize the eggs and cook the whites faster, and keeping your water just below boiling point (about 190F) will help keep the fragile eggs from all the boiling bubble action rupturing the eggs. Also make sure to salt your poaching water well.
• The other main key to success is to crack your egg into a small bowl first, taking care not to break the yolk. Then it becomes easy to gently slide the entire egg into the water for the poaching process. Some people will also suggest swirling the poaching liquid into a bit of a vortex before sliding the egg in, in order to help keep the egg whites together. I’ve found it works fine whether or not you do this step.
• A poached egg is done when the whites are fully cooked and the yolk has just started to solidify but is still runny when you cut it open – usually three minutes. It’s ok to go a little longer though depending on your desired firmness. I like mine so the edges of yolks are cooking but the inside is still runny, so I usually let them go 30s longer.
• You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.

I've decided to make poached egg on toast with some tomatoes, lettuce and cheese - exactly the way my Hubby used to make it for me when I was popping home for lunch. This time I made one for him :) It's nice and I love all the different textures - crunchy toast and wobbly poached egg :)

How to make it...

- slice of toasted bread of your choice
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 poached egg
- few lettuce leaves
- few slices of your favourite hard cheese (I used cheddar) or grated one (I used Parmesan)
- salt, pepper
Put the toast in the centre of your plate. Arrange lettuce, sliced tomato, slices of cheese as you wish, on top place carefully your poached egg (poaching instructions above). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and enjoy! :)

My first egg came out as it should be. Nice fluffy white and soft yolk in the centre, but... the second attempt was somewhat weird... To my pure shock (and amusement) the yolk separated from the white! So I had white on one spoon and yolk on the other one!!! Is that even possible? :P You can see it on the photo above - as the yolk sits on top(!) of the white, I placed it like that ;) World of cooking is... magic :D