RECIPE: How to make a perfect poached egg
THERE is nothing so delectable as a perfectly poached egg; and nothing that strikes as much terror into the hearts of the inexperienced cook. There are all manner of gadgets on the market to help achieve the desired result but, really, nothing elaborate is necessary.
The one essential factor is the freshness of the eggs you use. The fresher the egg, the better the result. If you aren't lucky enough to have chooks in the back yard, try to buy eggs from a nearby supplier of free-range eggs that has a high turnover.
Another factor in the perfect poached egg is the depth of the pot. If the "drop" is greater, the egg has more time to set before hitting the bottom.
I've experimented with stirring the water to create a whirlpool, but that only works with a single egg.
Also remember to add white vinegar or lemon juice to the cooking water. This helps the white of the egg to set more quickly.
Try to have everything organised before you start; set the timer, have the bread sitting in the toaster, and have everyone sitting at the table!
Once you've mastered the technique, you can say goodbye to expensive cafe meals. You will only be limited by your imagination as to what you enjoy come the weekend breakfast or brunch.
Perfect poached eggs
INGREDIENTS: 1 tbs white vinegar or lemon juice
4 very fresh free-range eggs
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
fresh herbs of your choice
METHOD: Bring a small, deep pot of water to the boil over high heat. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and reduce the heat to medium so the water is just simmering.
Break eggs, one at a time, into a cup and slide gently into the simmering water. Increase the temperature slightly to return to a simmer, and cook for two minutes and 20 seconds for soft-poached eggs, or four minutes for firm yolks.
Have a plate topped with paper towels ready; remove eggs quickly from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper. Season to taste and serve immediately; try the following ideas.
1: Place slices of avocado on toast, squeeze with a little lemon juice and top with egg; serve with cherry tomatoes and fresh coriander or parsley.
2: Serve eggs on a bed of lightly steamed fresh asparagus and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.
3: Spoon room-temperature hummus on each plate and top with egg; sprinkle with some prepared dukkah, crumbled feta and fresh coriander.
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