J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
The perfect poached egg. Tender whites around a warm liquid yolk that oozes out like liquid gold when you cut into it. They’re an essential part of Eggs Benedict, they can turn any salad into a meal, or any vegetable into brunch.
The problem is, they’re really tough to make right. So you’ve probably read all the tricks and know all the secrets: Add vinegar to your water. Add salt to your water. Don’t add salt to your water. Stir a vortex into the water. Wrap your eggs in plastic wrap. And guess what? None of them really work.
There IS one method that works every single time, and all it requires are two things.
The first is: a really fresh egg. Fresh eggs have tighter whites and yolks that help them retain their shape better as they cook.
The second tool you need is a fine mesh strainer..
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer, then reduce heat until it is barely quivering. It should register 180 to 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Carefully break 1 egg into a small bowl, then tip into a fine mesh strainer. Carefully swirl egg around strainer, using your finger to rub off any excess loose egg whites that drop through. Gently tip egg into water. Swirl gently with a wooden spoon for 10 seconds, just until egg begins to set. Repeat straining and tipping with remaining eggs. Cook, swirling occasionally, until egg whites are fully set but yolks are still soft, about 4 minutes.
2. Carefully lift eggs from pot with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately, or transfer to a bowl of cold water and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, transfer to a bowl of hot water and let reheat for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.