Learning How to Poach

I feel slightly strange that my first post of the year is about something so…well, almost mundane. However, there are some really BIG things percolating inside and out, and as much as I am typically an “over-sharer”, I’m choosing to keep some things a little closer to the vest right now. Close friends know what I’m talking about, and I expect it all to unravel here at some point. Just not yet.

So, happy near year all.

The other day I got a “wild hair” (as my friend Pam used to say) to learn to poach an egg. I still can’t fathom why exactly, other than that eggs are something I eat for breakfast frequently, and I was getting rather bored of them.

Of course upon my decision to learn this, Danil googled and sent me this marvelous video. I have never seen Jacques Pépin and was impressed and amused. I couldn’t imagine why I’d need to put the eggs in an ice bath after cooking though, especially if I wanted to eat them immediately. I also couldn’t see trimming off the white edges to make them look more presentable: that’s valuable protein, and I’m not presenting them to guests or anything!

The next morning I decided to try this. It was a mild disaster. I didn’t use the spoon soon enough to stop the white part of the egg from sticking to the bottom of the shallow pan.  But I was happy to have a use for the white vinegar.

The morning after that, I’d learned from my mistake.

The first egg came out nearly perfect and I was terribly proud of myself. But I (think) because I had the water boiling too rapidly, the second one came out awful. Still I was happy with the consistency of the yolk. Contrary to many poached egg fans, I don’t prefer my yolks to be all that runny!

This morning I’m happy to report that after only 3 attempts at this process, I came out with 2 eggs that I found both presentable and delicious! Again the first was more presentable than the second; tomorrow I may try changing out the water–I’m using a small skillet–before cooking the second. This morning I also dropped them onto a paper towel, which did much to absorb the water but may have resulted on some loss of appearance when I went to remove them.

If you’re anything like me, a new year gives you a little “kick in the pants” to try new things. I think a lot of times we’re very focused on having those things be BIG. But as learning to poach has shown me, the small wins can be fun and satisfying, as well as encouraging. Especially when the BIG things will (naturally) take longer to manifest.

Happy poaching!


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