Two Easy Ways to Cook an Egg

Poached eggs are brunch superstars and heroes in salads that are eaten as food, but many home chefs are turned off by the process of making them. If you’re dreading tossing a raw egg into boiling water, relax, it’s not as hard as cracking.

Part of the Skillet The Grown-Up Kitchen series , designed to answer your most basic cooking questions and fill in any gaps that may be missing from your home chef education.

Before we move on to the process of preparing eggs, there are a few general cooking rules you should follow:

  • Use boiling water, not boiling water. Large, violent bubbles can rip your small egg apart.
  • Do not break an egg directly into a saucepan or skillet. Transfer it to a ladle, small bowl, mold, or mug first for gentle transfer.
  • Strain the watery whites through a sieve . You will have fewer small tendrils to deal with.

I cook eggs in the traditional way for a while, and unless I do a lot of them, I never had to mess with the classic way. Simply break the egg into a small sieve to drain off the watery portion of the protein, transfer it to a small bowl or mold, and gently pour into a couple of inches of boiling water ( or wine ). After that, let it sit for three to four minutes, depending on how firm you want the yolk to be. You can stir it a little if you like, but I find the bubbles move it easily. In three minutes in a boiling bath, you will get an egg that looks like this:

Gently remove it from the water with a slotted spoon, place it on a paper towel for a moment to absorb excess water, and place it on toast, Benedict, salad or pasta.

If you are still a little afraid of water, I have training wheels for you, which are made of plastic wrap.

This method takes some preparation, but it will give you peace of mind by physically holding the egg together while it boils. Just cut a square out of plastic, brush it with a little butter or ghee, and season if you like. Then press the plastic into a mold or small bowl, crack the egg there, and tie the top with culinary string, removing as much air as possible.

Toss – or rather gently place – the bag in boiling water and let it hang for four to five minutes. In four minutes, you get a barely solidified white with a completely liquid yolk; five will be a little tougher on both counts.

Depending on the size of your plastic wrap, your little bag may break, but by then the egg will be ready enough to maintain its shape. Once it’s cooked, unfold the bounty and eat as desired. I love this method if I’m killing a bunch of eggs at once, but it’s also great for getting into the poaching process.

However, one method I don’t recommend is microwave cooking. The egg often sticks to the cookware in which you cook it, and I have found this to give unpredictable results. Both eggs below were microwaved for one minute and, as you can see, are very different from each other.

Besides, there is no reason to get carried away with the scientific oven anyway. Boiling some water is literally one of the easiest things you can do, and breaking an egg isn’t that hard.


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