As Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management describes in 1861 “the lightest way to dress an egg is to poach it,” and the words remain true today. Poaching an egg sounds fancy, thus difficult, but it couldn’t be any easier. With a stitch of patience, this perfect food will transform your weekday cooking… or cookery, as Mrs. Beeton would say.
A poached egg dresses up a roasted vegetable and farro dinner with a rich protein, brings heartiness to a brothy mid-day soup, and when prepared on your breakfast salad** delivers energy throughout the day.
1. Use fresh (grade A) eggs. The fresh firm eggs will keep their shape better during cooking.
2. Fill a shallow pan with 1 ½ – 3 inches of salted water.
3. Heat water to just below a boil.
4. Crack an egg into a small, shallow cup to keep the egg tightly together.
5. Once the water is ready, gently place the egg in the water from the cup.
6. Cook 3-5 minutes. Keep water from boiling.
7. Remove egg carefully with a spoon and place directly on its accompaniments.
Egg production does affect the quality of eggs. Look for eggs that have been produced sustainably and from a farm that honors the welfare of their animals. If you can get your hands on fresh-laid (Grade A) eggs from a local organic farmer, try poaching one (or more!). For most nutrients and flavor, look for eggs with rich, golden yolks and firm whites as they most likely came from a well cared for and diversely fed hen.
Find local eggs at River Market Community Co-op in Stillwater, Whole Earth Co-op in River Falls, or search LocalHarvest.com for nearby suppliers. (And in due time, find them at the Hudson Grocery Cooperative!)
**Inspirational breakfast salads by Stephanie Meyer, local Minneapolis food writer. Check out her blog, Fresh Tart.