Total Time: 20 minutes
RECIPE OVERVIEW Overcoming one of the biggest challenges to poaching eggs—producing a tender, tidy white—starts with draining the eggs in a colander. Why? This allows the thin, loose whites that would cook up ragged to slip away before cooking and results in perfectly shaped poached eggs. Transferring the eggs to a liquid measuring cup and depositing them into the water one by one prevents them from being jostled. Salted water with vinegar helps the whites set up quickly, ensuring that the faster-cooking yolks will still be liquid by the time the whites are cooked through. Poaching the eggs in a Dutch oven filled with just 6 cups of water leaves plenty of headspace above the eggs so that steam fully cooks the notoriously gooey portion of the white nearest the yolk. Finally, we gently poach the eggs by bringing the water to a boil, adding the eggs, covering the pot, and letting them cook off the heat for 3 minutes. Once the cover is removed, you can check the eggs individually, removing them once the white nearest to the yolk is just set. For the best results, be sure to use the freshest eggs possible. This recipe can be used to cook from one to four eggs. To make two batches of eggs to serve all at once, transfer four cooked eggs directly to a large pot of 150-degree water and cover them. This will keep them warm for 15 minutes or so while you return the poaching water to a boil and cook the next batch. We like to serve these eggs on buttered toast, in Open-Faced Poached Egg Sandwiches , or on salads made with assertively flavored greens.
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Table salt for poaching eggs
1. Bring 6 cups water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Meanwhile, crack eggs, one at a time, into colander. Let stand until loose, watery whites drain away from eggs, 20 to 30 seconds. Gently transfer eggs to 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
2. Add vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling water. With lip of measuring cup just above surface of water, gently tip eggs into water, one at a time, leaving space between them. Cover pot; remove from heat; and let stand until whites closest to yolks are just set and opaque, about 3 minutes. If after 3 minutes whites are not set, let stand in water, checking every 30 seconds, until eggs reach desired doneness. (For medium-cooked yolks, let eggs sit in pot, covered, for 4 minutes, then begin checking for doneness.)
3. Using slotted spoon, carefully lift and drain each egg over Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.