About 6 months ago poached eggs were everywhere, on pasta and salads and part of bibimbap, they looked beautiful and I really wanted to eat them. It is true that you can make "poached eggs" using any number of devices, but they do not have the show stopping appeal of a real poached egg. I decided it was time to learn how.
First I checked some tried and true cookbooks. While they gave me an idea of what I was suppose to be doing, they did not fill me with confidence. I turned to YouTube and was amazed at the number of videos out there about how to poach an egg. Each one different from the other but claiming to be the only way to do the job. There did not seem to be a definitive answer for pot size, vinegar amount, egg dropping, water swirling, temperature, or time. The reason for this is because there is not one right answer. After weeks of trying everything and making some pretty awful poached eggs, I have found what works for me. Will it work for you? Probably not. You see your stove and the amount of BTUs it kicks out is different from my stove. The pan you use will be different. The eggs will be different. It goes on and on. The only real way to learn how to poach eggs is to do it, over and over again, taking notes and not getting discouraged by your failures. They are not really failures, just another step on the road to perfection.
I use a small frying pan because the water comes to a boil faster and it fits nicely in the dishwasher, chose your favorite pan. I add a splash of plain vinegar to the water, I do not measure, just splash. I do not create a whirlpool before dropping in the eggs because I make more than one at a time and the whirlpool thing only works for one egg. If you are only making one egg, by all means whirlpool because it is fun. I crack the egg directly above the boiling water. Yes, I occasionally get a kiss from the boiling water, but I have found that cracking an egg into a bowl or plate and then gently lowering that egg into the water is a waste of time and creates another dish to wash. If you are not comfortable placing your hands next to boiling water than by all means use a plate. Once the eggs are in the water I use a spoon to pull any wayward white into the central egg, wait about ten seconds, then use the spoon again to make sure the eggs are not stuck to the bottom of the pan. All of this is done gently. I wait three minutes, remove the egg with a slotted spoon, quickly blot it off on a napkin/towel and serve. You will not know how long to cook your eggs until you do it. Keep trying and take notes.
Once you learn the particulars of your stove/egg/timing you will be able to produce a perfectly poached egg every time. Really. Do not sweat the eggs that do not work. Practice for yourself before attempting to feed anyone else and you will be fine.
Please show me your poached eggs.
ETA: Another tasty looking recipe using poached eggs.