30 October 2009

Poached Eggs

Last night was salad night and I thought it would be nice to combine our usual salad with a poached egg. I've read about these and Lundulph has been talking about swirling boiling water and such, I wanted to give it a go. I'd already done some research on this and YouTube is full of videos on how to do it. So I just had a quick check in Delia's Complete Cookery Course and also in my Bulgarian National Cuisine book, where these are called забулени яйца which translates to veiled eggs. On the whole, it looks like experience is the main thing, trying and tweaking until you're happy with the end result.

On the whole I think I did fairly well for a first time. And I'll write down what I did for reference for next time. I already have some tweaks in mind.



2 medium sized very fresh eggs
5 dl water
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt

  1. Place the water, vinegar and salt in a small-ish saucepan, it should be about 5 cm deep, and heat up on low, so that it's just under boiling temperature.

  2. Prepare with a slotted ladle and a bowl with kitchen tissue in order to drain the ready eggs.

  3. Crack one egg in a small bowl or ladle, then carefully pour into the water, keeping the bowl as close to the surface as possible.

  4. The egg white will solidify fairly quickly. I tried to keep it together with a spoon, but it still managed to spread quite a bit. I suspect my eggs weren't as fresh as I thought they were.

  5. Keeping an eye on the yolk, so it gets a bit of a skin, but remains runny, take the whole lot out after about 2 minutes and drain on the kitchen tissue.

  6. Serve immediately while it's still hot. Though it works well cold too, since our dinner got a bit delayed. Lundulph re-heated his in the microwave and the yolk was still runny and tasted very nice on top of our salad, in fact I cut mine up and stirred it in like salad cream.

In the photo, it is served with a few slices of some wonderful филе "Елена" (fillet Elena), which is a very fine cured, spiced and dried fillet from Bulgaria.

Now, tweaks. I had too much water in, that is the water was too deep and the egg sank to the bottom, thus stirring it up and that might have spread some of the white around. Delia recommends that it's shallow enough to need to baste over the yolk to get it cooked and I think that might be a good thing to try.

Then my eggs were not sufficiently fresh. Generally the fresher the egg, the thicker the white is and the closer is stays around the yolk, whereas an older egg has much runnier white, so the older the egg, the more likely the white will spread in shreds during the poaching. I've seen a couple of the shops in the village sell extremely expensive eggs, but dated with when they were laid. I'm guessing it's the owner's own hens in question, so that would be the next thing to try. I'm happy to spend a little bit extra money on two eggs, that'll make it feel even more luxurious.

And I'd also like to try out the swirling method, just for the heck of it, even if it doesn't work out. I'm not too old to play with food.

Finally, I've never really been too big a fan of egg white (unless it's in a meringue), so I might just try poaching a yolk on it's own.

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