The Perfect Poached Egg

May 13, 2015

Poaching an egg used to be a mysterious art. Once you have found the right method there is no going back…you’ll become an addict! Eggs are the perfect food, being incredibly: tasty, versatile, nutrient-rich (yep…more of this later), filling and easy on your wallet. As I am incorporating poached eggs into loads of recipes I have dedicated a whole post to the subject. 

Two wonderful friends gifted me an “Eat to be Healthy” cooking class at Daylesford – what a treat!!! Surrounded by eight enthusiastic woman, three great chefs and a knowledgable and lovely nutritionist we were given a huge amount of useful tips on how to cook more healthily everyday. Besides learning how to prepare an absolutely deliciously nutritious 4-course menu, we were taught some basics such as almond milk, chicken stock and how to poach an egg. After six and a half hours of flowing, laughter-filled conversation, nine happy women left Daylesford, eager to put their new-found skills into practice!

The perfect poached egg

Since Daylesford, poaching an egg is an absolute joy! I now add them to: soups, vegetables, toasts…you name it. It’s a real comfort food as well as being healthy! For the sceptics out there: Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods, rich in: vitamin B2, B12, choline, phosphorus and antioxidants, along with generous amounts of vitamins A, D, E, B1, B6 and folate, as well as calcium and iron. Eggs have a little bit of everything – it has, after all, to contain all the necessary nutrients to turn a single cell into a baby chick!!!

  • Great Brain Food: choline, not the best known nutrient, plays a crucial role in our brain. It regulates our memory process, emotions and behaviour and plays a central role in our autonomic nervous system. Choline is also essential both in the metabolising of fat in our liver and building our cell walls. So, including eggs for breakfast can improve your mental health throughout the day, as well as helping you save loads of calories!
  • Loose Weight! A large egg only contains 70 calories but will keep you full for longer. Why? Eggs score highly on the Satiety Index (SI) as they are rich in protein – they include all 9 amino acids in the right proportions.
  • The Cholesterol Question:eggs have for a long time suffered from the myth of increasing cholesterol in your blood. Fact is, yes, eggs are rich in dietary cholesterol but that does not necessarily increases your ‘LDL’ bad cholesterol that is responsible for damaging our heart and artery health (this is the case for 70% of the people – to be sure check with your doctor). Saturated fats have been shown to have way more impact on your ‘LDL’ bad cholesterol. Our liver constantly produces cholesterol so when we eat cholesterol rich foods our liver produces less, thereby balancing any impact. Did you know that cholesterol is actually necessary for the production of vitamin D (our skin synthesises cholesterol into vitamin D when exposed to the sun) and is a component of cell membranes?
  • Healthy Bones and Teeth: vitamin D (scarce in foods) and phosphorus support the body in building both bones and teeth. Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium in our nutrition, increases the deposit of minerals in our bones and strengthens our enamel against caries.
  • Protect Your Eye Health: the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine found in eggs can help preserve your eye health from age-related macular degeneration and build up your retina.

Getting the most health benefits out of your egg:

  • Eat the whole egg as the egg white contains more than half of the protein and the egg yolk consists of the healthy, fatty acids and 80% of the vitamins and minerals.
  • Buy either organic or free-range – the diet of the hen does impact on the nutrients in the egg.
  • The fresher the egg the more nutrients it contains.
  • Cooking will decrease the nutritional value of an egg, therefore use gentle methods of cooking such as poaching and soft boiling.
The perfect poached egg

Here’s what you need to poach an egg:

  • a pan – size depends on how many eggs you want to poach
  • small cups – as many as eggs you want to poach (I’ve tried up to 4 eggs at a time)
  • timer
  • water
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup of vinegar – I use cider vinegar
  • eggs – medium size and at room temperature
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Put each egg in a small cup – this will make it easier to add them to the water.
  2. Add water to the pan – approximately 7.5cm / 3inches above bottom.
  3. Bring the water to the boil – when bubbles start to rise, add the vinegar – this will help to set the egg nicely. 
  4. Gently pour the eggs one after the other into the water, turn off the heat and set the timer to 4min.
  5. Immediately take a spoon and make sure that the eggs are not stuck at the bottom.
  6. When time has passed, take the eggs out with a slotted spoon, add to your dish and season.

Tips & Tricks

  • Time can vary depending on your stove and method of storing. I am using eggs at room temperature and utilising a gas stove to poach them – 4min is the perfect amount of time. If you are storing your eggs in the fridge add about 30sec to your cooking time, this also applies if you are using a normal stove. The best thing is to test and find out for yourself which timing works best in your kitchen.

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