Saturday, February 26, 2011
Cracking the poached egg, finally
poached egg has long been my favorite way to eat a breakfast egg. Fried is too greasy (most days); scrambled is good at home, but if you're eating out prepare to eat rubber. Same goes for omelettes... add in overcooked veggies and it can really be a mess.
But the thing about the home-poached egg is those whites. What to do about those stringy and roaming-about-the-pot whites? There's advice to add an acid (small amount of vinegar or lemon juice) to the water, but I've had little success with that really helping. And those poaching pods are a nice attempt, but really don't quite do the egg justice. (The whites can still get either rubbery or not completely set up, and I'm not fond of the perfectly round look when it slides out--almost seems unnatural. I know, picky picky.).
Just this morning, early early, I was reading and saw a post from Michael Ruhlman linked to by Jason Kottke. (Have to give credit for the find--if you don't know kottke.org, you really should. He scours the web so you don't have to, and presents a number of interesting tidbits every day ranging from technology to popular culture. Definitely one to add to the feeds.)
Anyway, back to Mr. Ruhlman. (Here's his post.) The upshot is that he's produced a slotted spoon that, if you crack an egg into it, will eliminate that part of the white that is watery, leaving "good" white behind with the yolk, which will make for better, easier poaching. My initial thought was, yeah, right. I have spoons like that (by Martha Stewart) in my drawer already, what would be special about his spoon, given that it is $27? So upon truly rising a couple of hours later, I decided poached eggs would have to be on the menu this morning.
So Ruhlman's idea is spot on, happily. Eliminating that watery part of the white makes for a much more beautiful and less far-flung (his word is flyaway, I like it) poached egg. And, in the process I did discover that Martha's spoon is too small to really hold the yolk and "good" white; the first egg I cracked into her spoon slid right off and into the small bowl I had positioned beneath the spoon (thankfully). I made do with a larger food-service slotted spoon from the catering days, and it did the trick nicely.
I had some leftover black bean and corn salad in the fridge and warmed the mixture up before putting the poached eggs on top. Seth had been adamant that he wasn't hungry-hungry and was going to have a bowl of cereal... until he saw my creation. So I surrendered the first bowl quite graciously and continued with my egg experimentation.The next bowl turned out just as lovely, and a new poached egg tradition has been solidified for me. I am thankful that I have my big slotted spoon, as I wasn't really in the mood to shell out for Ruhlman's special spoon, and I have a feeling that if you have a bigger-than-normal slotted spoon around, it would work for you too!