Hi everyone. Happy February! I hope 2018 is going well for you all so far.
This month, I’ve got a very simple but tasty recipe for you, and I use the term “recipe” lightly because, essentially, there’s really only one ingredient, eggs. But, they’re a great little protein power-pack, ideal for breakfast, lunch or whenever, and are quick and easy to prepare. And, there are variations, too, that can turn the simple poached egg into a more ‘elaborate’ and filling meal, and likely impress your family and friends.
So, first thing, fill a frying pan with about ¾ of an inch of filtered water (just enough to fully cover the eggs) and bring to boil. It’s best not to use tap water for cooking, by the way, as the chemicals can taint the taste of your food. You should vary the size of pan you use as well, of course, according to how many eggs you need (5” pan = 1 - 4 eggs, 9” pan = 5 - 8 eggs, and so on). They cook best when they’re ‘huddled’ together, but not ‘packed’ or too loose. You’ll notice too that a lot off the egg white will break away from the egg itself, which is fine. Just work around it and dump it later.
Turn the heat down to medium/high and carefully crack each egg into the water. (Now and again, a loose piece of egg shell will fall into the pan. Carefully move it to the side of the pan with a teaspoon and scoop it out. The last thing you want is to bite into a piece of egg shell when you’re eating eggs).
Once the water heats up again and starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium so that it becomes a low boil or “simmer.” After about two minutes, carefully slide a spatula under each egg to ensure “non-sticking” to the pan and allow another minute or two of cooking time, according to your personal preference (2 minutes should have the eggs firm outside but with the yolk still quite soft). You can test them by touching them lightly with the spatula.
Turn the heat off and, using the spatula, carefully strain and serve the eggs immediately onto a plate or, allow them to remain in water to stay warm until you’re ready to serve them (Keep in mind, they will continue to cook to a degree so it’s best to undercook them if you’re not going to serve them right away). Lightly salt and/or pepper them to taste and enjoy. Or, as I suggested earlier, there are a few simple ways to “spruce up” the humble poached egg and turn it into a full meal for breakfast, brunch, or whenever).
Here’s one of my favorites;
Place a slice of Swiss, sharp cheddar or your favorite cheese, on a piece of buttered toast or half an English muffin toasted. Carefully lift and place one or two eggs on top and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. The heat of the eggs should melt the cheese nicely. Bon appetite!
Another option, place a sliced or two of ham or Canadian bacon on a plate, top each one with a cheese slice, and microwave for 30-60 seconds, depending on the number of pieces. Place each one on top of a piece of toast, followed by the egg/s, add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve a small garden salad on the side for ‘balance,’ extra nutrients and freshness, if you like.
Side note; I sometimes cut the crust off the toast for that extra touch of ‘class’ (if you’re out to impress). To really show off, how about something like criss-crossing two slices of bacon on top. They’ll love you for it!!
For those of you who might like to go an “extra mile,” top the eggs with hollandaise sauce (“Eggs Benedict”) - a little tricky to make but worth the effort, and there are a ton of recipes for it online) or a warmed tomato salsa, fresh or store-bought, for that Mexican flavor (Yummy!).
Yet another variation is to place one or two poached eggs on a slice of crisp buttered toast, add salt and fresh ground black pepper then cover with a slice of cheese (I like a good Sharp White Cheddar myself) and place on a cookie sheet under the broiler until the cheese is melted with a brown, crisp edge. Ideally, place the oven rack about 6 inches away from the broiler. You want the cheese to melt and brown fast so that the eggs don’t get over-cooked. It shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes.
For other variations, use your imagination and whatever else you might like: use sliced turkey instead of ham or maybe some sautéed vegetables instead of a salad.