We've been eating poached eggs for weeks now because it's my son's new favourite food. He said poached eggs are way better than fried eggs. Someone's grown up.
Poached eggs used to be harder to make than souffle for me but after many attempts, using many methods, I can poach eggs without feeling anxious. Forget about using cling film (ew) or special egg poachers. Also, don't be anxious. It's just eggs, cheap and easily available. The golden rule is to start with very fresh chilled eggs. Stale eggs have watery whites that will spread out into strands. In hot weather especially, the eggs should be taken out of the fridge just before cooking because a chilled egg is less runny. A good poached egg should have a runny yolk with the white set, compact and rounded around the yolk.
The best way to poach eggs is the vortex method. This just means that you stir the boiling water in a pot until you get a whirlpool. The egg is cracked into a small bowl (easier to control, especially if you are afraid of poaching eggs) and slipped into the calm center of the swirling water. The swirl of the water will keep the egg white from spreading out. A teaspoon of vinegar, said to set the eggs faster, can be added to the boiling water before the egg is slipped in but I've found that it's not necessary although my son says otherwise.
I used to find it such a chore to make Eggs Benedict because of the Hollandaise sauce. Honestly, would you want to make Hollandaise sauce for two Eggs Benedict? What I do now is just thin mayo (Japanese Kewpie mayo is the best substitute for Hollandaise sauce because it has a strong egg yolk flavor) with dairy cream. Sometimes I add whole grain mustard or ordinary mustard. My son prefers to make his paoched eggs and bread with his cream cheese-mayo-chives sauce. It's very yummy and reminded me of Australian brekkies.
The irregularly-shaped egg on top was made in boiling water, no vortex. The two round eggs at the bottom were poached vortex method.
An even faster way with poached eggs is Eggs Florentine which just replaces the bacon or ham of Eggs Benedict with spinach. The spinach is usually blanched but you can serve it raw too. Traditionally poached Eggs Benedict or Florentine are made with toasted English muffins but I made do with what I had on hand, toasted slices of wholemeal bread.
Looks too green for my hub and son.
This looks more appetizing to them, poached eggs on blanched spinach topped with Gruyere cheese and 'Hollandaise' sauce. I find that it's not necessary to grill the assembled Egg Florentine. The blanket of sauce looks rather bumpy because of the lumps of cream cheese underneath.
So, to re-cap:
1. Mix mayo with dairy cream to make a sauce. You can add mustard if like
2. Blanch the spinach, squeeze dry. Or you can leave spinach raw.
3. Crack a fresh chilled egg into a small bowl. Boil a small pot of water. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar (optional). Use a fork or even chopstick to swirl the boiling water fast until it becomes a whirlpool with a calm centre. Slip the egg in and cover with a lid. Remove after 30 seconds, use a fork or spoon to lift the egg off the bottom of the pot if it's stuck, and let egg boil until the white is set but the yolk is still soft and runny. Lift with a slotted spoon onto a piece of kitchen paper to blot.
4. Toast the bread or English muffin.
5. Put the spinach on the toast, top with the egg and cheese (if using) and spoon the 'Hollandaise sauce' over to cover the egg. Top with chopped chives. Serve immediately to happy kids.