How to poach an egg
Be organised. Eggs will take 2 -3 minutes to poach. The toast needs to be on and the bacon needs to be nearly crisp before you start poaching.
- Use a pot, not a frying pan. Fill the pot with 10-12cm of water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add a splash of vinegar — any type will do, I even use balsamic if I do not have a white vinegar or lemon juice. The vinegar helps set the white and make it more white.
- Add a pinch of salt. (Optional, I do not bother).
- With a slotted spoon, create a whirlpool with the boiling water.
- Take the eggs from the fridge. Crack them directly into the pot, no more than 4 at a time — any more will chill the water down too much and it will stop boiling. With the spoon, keep the whirlpool going.
- Fresh eggs will sink a little in the boiling water. The white should also stay attached to the egg. If it falls away, the egg is not fresh but you can still eat it.
- While the eggs are cooking, put the toast on the plates and lay the bacon on the toast.
- Using the slotted spoon, remove the eggs (some people trim the white to make the egg look more perfect) and place on toast and bacon.
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
When they're in season, serve your eggs with tomatoes, cut into quarters and pan-fried in butter for 5 minutes or until just tender but not turning to a mush.
Storage of eggs
Eggs will last longer if kept in the fridge. For poaching, I will use directly from the fridge but for baking, you need to bring them out 30-60 minutes beforehand to come to room temperature.
To poach eggs for a large group
You can pre-poach eggs and put them into a water-bath (bowl) of cold water until needed. To warm through, put them in simmering water for 20-30 seconds and serve. This is how large hotel kitchens cope with poached eggs en masse.