Tired of plain-Jane hard-boiled eggs? Have some fun this year and give poached eggs a try in your kitchen. You won’t be able to dye them hot pink and green, but what they lack in colorful paint they’ll make up for in delicious flavor and texture: Soft and delicate with a perfectly thick, oozing yolk!
Poached eggs are actually very simple and easy to cook at home. You just need to be quick and very gentle. Let’s go over the basic rules to achieve a successful poached egg:
QUALITY MATTERS: If possible, you want to get the best quality eggs for poaching. You can check for quality by cracking an egg on a plate – if the white is loose and watery and the egg yolk is a little slouchy, they may not be the best eggs for poaching. But we won’t judge…And make sure they’re as cold as possible, right from the fridge! This helps to keep the egg firm and compact while cooking.
THE POWER OF VINEGAR: Adding a small amount of vinegar to the water before poaching is essential to the final outcome. Vinegar helps to quickly set the proteins in the eggs, keeping the whites condensed and reducing the “frayed” look of the whites as the egg cooks in the water – and even if you don’t escape the wrath of frayed edges, you can easily cut them away to achieve a better presentation.
TEACUPS AREN’T JUST FOR TEA: A teacup with a handle is the ideal instrument for sliding eggs into water with control. It also helps to synchronize the cooking time for the eggs at once so that they can cook close to the same time. Carefully crack an egg into each teacup and hold one teacup in each hand. Slide the eggs gently and slowly into the water simultaneously to start poaching.
STEAM THE EGGS, NOT BOIL: Big, ruthless bubbles from boiling water will be far too harsh for poaching a delicate egg. Steaming the eggs in hot water is the ideal way to evenly cook your eggs. By removing the pan from the heat and covering with a lid after adding the eggs are added, the steam becomes trapped and helps sustain the gentle cooking process.
PREPARE YOURSELF: You do need to work quickly in order for the eggs to cook properly. Have everything prepared and on hand ahead of time: Have the eggs ready to crack into the tea cup; Have the lid ready to cover the pan once you slide your eggs in; Have a slotted spoon right next to the pan to fish them out; Have a plate lined with a paper towel ready to put your eggs on once they are cooked. Work as efficiently as you can!
POACHED EGGS WITH QUICK–SAUTÉED ASPARAGUS AND CRISPY PROSCIUTTO
YIELD: 4 servings
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2 Tbsp butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 slices prosciutto, ripped into small pieces
- For the Asparagus:
- Trim the ends of the asparagus.
- Add your chosen fat to a large sauté pan and heat to medium-high
- Add asparagus, stirring frequently.
- Cook for about 5-8 minutes for a crisp-tender asparagus
- Cook longer for a softer asparagus, up to 8-15 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the Crispy Prosciutto:
- Heat a small pan over medium-high heat
- Add the prosciutto pieces and cook until browned and crisp (3-5 minutes) stirring occasionally.
- Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
For the Poached Eggs:
- Fill a 12-inch nonstick skillet close to the rim with water, leaving about 1/2-inch room on top.
- Add the salt and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a soft simmer. Carefully crack two eggs into two teacups, one egg per teacup.
- Hold a teacup in each hand. With the lips of the teacup touching the water, gently slide the two eggs into boiling water in one fluid movement, keeping some distance between each egg.
- Working quickly, repeat with the other two eggs: crack one each teacup, and gently slide into the water, being sure to keep room in between each egg.
- Immediately and carefully remove the pan from heat. Cover with a lid. Let stand until the yolks are medium-firm, with slight softness in the center. This will take about 2 ½ to 4 minutes.
- At 2 ½ minutes, check to see if the eggs are cooked to your liking. Remove one egg with a slotted spoon and gently tap on the yolk – if it feels too soft and liquidy, leave the eggs in for the full 4 minutes.
- Remove each egg with a slotted spatula or spoon and place on a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Serve immediately.
- Divide the asparagus into 4 equal amounts on 4 plates.
- Gently place on poached egg on top of each asparagus.
- Scatter prosciutto slices on each plate.
- Serve with salt and pepper, to taste.
MORE… PALEO EGG DISHES
- Poached Eggs with Quick–Sautéed Asparagus and Crispy Prosciutto
- Crust–Less Vegetable Quiche
- Sweet Potato and Sausage Hash with Baked Egg
- The Leftover Mash: Fried Egg with Parsnip Puree, Sausage, and Chard
PALEO SIDE DISHES
- Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Honey Toasted Pecans
- Fresh Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw
- Fresh Radishes with Sea Salt, Butter, and Rustic Puree de Fines Herbs
- Wilted Swiss Chard
- Rosemary-Infused Parsnip Puree
- Maple Glazed Peppercorn Bacon