A Virgin Poaching


Until last week I had never poached an egg in my life. I’ve certainly enjoyed them in quantity, but never personally done the whole poaching thing myself. I’d heard tales of what a pain it was to do correctly, how sometimes it was nothing short of disastrous, but nothing terrible befell me on my virgin attempt. I wanted it to top a radish and avocado salad – a light little summer dish that, with the egg, could double as an entree. (And to appease the impatient part of me, a plate of radishes and salt with a baguette until the assembly and poaching was complete.)

A friend advised the use of an egg poacher, but I was not about to get any additional kitchen paraphernalia (we have way too much stuff – the apple peeler-corer-slicer has not been seen in years). Luckily people have been poaching eggs without professional poachers for years. The directions I used called for softly boiling water – just barely bubbling – and a tablespoon or so of cider vinegar. I’m a big fan of vinegar, so the warnings of it affecting the flavor did not matter to me, and if it was going to help keep the egg together I was all for it. I swirled the water around a bit, cracked the egg into a small bowl, and then carefully deposited it in the center of the pot. It stayed pretty much put, and I spooned some water over it to help cook the top. After three minutes, I removed it with a slotted spoon and placed it carefully upon the salad.

Once cut, the yolk ran golden yellow and gooey, coating the salad and avocado with rich cholesterol. I don’t often have instantly successful kitchen stories (ask Andy about the pancakes sometime) but every now and then it all comes together like a perfectly poached egg.

And for those three minutes of poaching/lollygagging, don’t forget the baguette.

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