How I Get The Perfect Poached Egg

Whenever I make poached eggs, they tend to find their way on to Instagram; cue various followers upset that they can never serve a good poached egg. As I'm so often asked for my "secret" - I thought I'd write a very quick post on egg poaching, mainly to stress that I have no secret formula, just a reliable method.
 
The key to success when poaching eggs is to use an egg fresh-from-the-hen. If you own your own chickens then this is great, if you don't, then find someone who does. Using supermarket eggs for poaching purposes will increase your likelihood of failure, as the longer it's been since the egg was laid, the more likely it is to spread out in the water rather than form a tight, compact ball.
 
I fill a large saucepan with plenty of water, and bring to the boil. Once boiling I use a wooden spoon to stir the boiling water, creating a kind of whirlpool in the centre of the pan. I then crack a fresh egg in to the whirlpool (the water doesn't have to be spinning wildly, a slow circular movement will be enough to roll your egg in to a rounder shape). I do not take the pan off of the heat at all, but if you're using a gas hob then I'd suggest turning the heat down a little at this stage - I use a horrible old fashioned electric hob though and have no problems.
 
As soon as the egg has turned white, use a slotted spoon to lift it from the water - if you can still see a lot of raw egg white then return to the water for a little longer, but in total your egg should not need to be in the water for any more than 75 seconds.
 
Once cooked, I scoop the egg out of the water with the slotted spoon and serve. Do not serve your poached egg on hot toast or a warmed plate; wherever you place your cooked egg should be cool - otherwise the egg will go on cooking and you'll end up with a hardening yoke (this often happens in cafes and restaurants as they tend to heat their plates). As soon as you sit down with your poached egg in front of you - cut the egg open, to allow heat to escape and to halt the on-going cooking process.
 
Kebab Shop Poached Eggs: poached egg on toasted muffin with crispy fried spring onion and jalape├▒o peppers.
 
 
N.B I am choosing to still eat runny egg yolks throughout pregnancy. The NHS recommend that pregnant women avoid eating runny yolks or raw egg, due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. This risk is very very tiny in the UK. If you are unlucky enough to contract salmonella food poisoning during pregnancy there is little to no risk to your baby. I however would not recommend or encourage other pregnant women to disregard NHS advice - if you do so it should be because you've researched the risks and come to your own informed decision - OK? OK.

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