I know, it looks like I’m the professor that knows everything. Actually the egg is not mine! Well, I cooked it, but the marvellous tecniques I used are definetely not mine!
Why do I say perfect? Because the poached egg is one of the most difficult recipes regardless its short preparation! Preparing a perfectly cooked poached egg with a firm white and running yolk is definetely not an easy task!
It is also a very complex discussion, much more than i expected! And when I need to clarify this type of things I ask for help to the multi starred chef Heston Blumenthal! I hope you are not starting hating him or me, thing is that “he knows his stuff”!
So today we analyze a simple recipe, at the reach of every person, examining also all the clichés regarding this preparation!
- 1 fresh egg
- abundant boiling water
- freshly ground black pepper
- toasted bread
Let’s start thinking about the main ingredient: the egg! How does it work?
The egg is substantially a cell enclosed in a porous shell. The more the egg ages, the more shrinks inside the shell and the more takes the smell of the surrounding environment through the shell. A fresh egg, immersed in water, goes to the bottom of the container. If its bottom floats a bit without leaving the bottom of the container, the egg is aged but still good to eat. If it floats on the surface of the water is gone and definetely not good to eat. When the egg ages the water separates in the albumen, making it more watery and not suitable for all the preparations that need a firm albumen, like poached or fried eggs. If we want to store it properly it is also better to put it in closed boxes in prder to let it have the least contact possible with other smell sources.
Clarified this we can start looking at the poached eggs!
Substantially it is an egg cooked immersing it in boiling water in order to envelope the yolk in its albumen with the purpose of cooking perfectly the white and leave the yolk running. Whoever prepared this egg at least once in life knows very well how it is difficult to keep it together! The albumen tends to break easily leaving us with almost only the yolk without any defined shape. To overcome this chefs invented and experimented a huge amount of tricks! Adding vinegar to the water, making the water whirling to keep the egg in its center, keeping floating with a spoon…all to arrive to the desired result!
And if I tell you that they are not necessary?
Let’s start saying that the vinegar has the unpleasant side effect to make the albumen gummy, so we should avoid its use. The breaking of the egg white is mostly caused by 2 factors. The first is the presence of water in the albumen: when it enters in contact with the boiling water it dilutes letting the main albumen cook with holes and stripes. How to face this fact? We can break the egg over a sieve and leave in there for a few seconds in order to let the water go through and leaving the denser albumen in there. The thinnier the sieve the better the result.
The second tecnique is quite interesting. Another reason why the egg white breaks is the contact with the bubbles of the boiling water. How could we protect it? The answer is simple: a small dish! We just add it into the casserole so it protects the egg from direct heat and the bubbles! This is more than enough to cook it perfectly!
So let’s start! We put a slice of bread in the toaster. We take a casserole and fill it with water. We place in the casserole a small dish (like the ones for teacups) and we bring it to boil. We break the egg into a sieve and wait few seconds for the most watery part of the albumen to go through, then we place it carefully into the casserole in the middle of the dish. We cover the casserole with a lid and leave it too cook at low flame for 4 minutes. At the end of the cooking time we drain it with a perforated spoon and we lightly absorb the water in excess on the egg with kitchen paper.
Then we put it over our toasted bread and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt!
I assure you its taste is wonderful and the consistence is simply delicious! The best thing is that it is an easy recipe to replace at home! Try it out! I am sure you will not regret it!
Italiano L’UOVO IN CAMICIA PERFETTO