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I watch a lot of cooking competition shows with the husband, and whenever he hears someone tell a judge that their dish is prepared “perfectly,” he cringes. “Don’t do it!” he cries, “don’t say it!” Inevitably, the judge takes a bite and says, “Well yes, it’s good, but you promised ‘perfection,’ and I’m just not sure it’s there.” Therefore, it is with quite some risk, but nevertheless great confidence, that I present to you: Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce.
The science behind poached eggs
Now yes, it’s true that there are dozens of ways to poach an egg. There are kitchen contraptions, debates over adding vinegar, techniques to swirl your egg whites to make them prettier, and I’m sure the list goes on. The truth is– you don’t need to buy an egg poacher. You don’t need vinegar. You don’t even need to swirl the egg white. All you need to do is strain the egg in a mesh sieve or strainer before you put it in the water. That’s it. You see, (I’m going to pretend I can ‘talk science’ now), surrounding the egg white is a layer of loose albumen that doesn’t “look pretty” when it’s poached. In other words, it’s the weird white bits that don’t want to stick to the egg when it’s dropped in the water. (That was my inner scientist right there. “Weird white bits” is a very technical term. You’ll see it in textbooks soon).
To ensure you have the prettiest, most delicious, poached eggs– crack your egg into a mesh sieve and let that part slip through the sieve openings. I just set my sieve in the kitchen sink, and then carry it over to the pot. You don’t need to rescue this part of the egg for egg white omelettes– it’s not the tasty part of the egg white– just let it drain down the sink. Then, pour your egg carefully into simmering water, and poach it 3-5 minutes.* Once it’s done poaching, take the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon. I like to set my eggs on a paper towel before putting them on the plate, to make sure I’ve got all the excess water off.
Making Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce
These eggs are perfect as is, but I like a little sauce with mine. To make a dijon sauce, mix plain yogurt (or substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream– whichever you have on hand), with a little dijon mustard, green onions, salt, and pepper. Make your sauce while the eggs are poaching, and serve the eggs while they’re still hot. Before you know it, you’ll be an egg poaching maniac, showing off these gorgeous, dare I say, ‘perfectly poached,’ eggs to all your guests. Feel free to spread the word about the mesh sieve trick, or don’t, and just let everyone think you have magical egg skills.
Note: 3 minutes should give you a runny yolk, similar to an ‘over easy’ fried egg. 5 minutes should give you a mostly cooked yolk. I actually prefer mine somewhere in the middle. That would be a 4 minute egg, if you’re keeping track.
Also Note: I didn’t invent this brilliant mesh-straining technique. Instead, I’m standing on the shoulders of egg geniuses such as Michael Ruhlman and Heston Blumenthal, who figured this technique out a long time ago.
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Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 TB Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- pinch salt, pepper
- green onion, diced
Bring about 3" water to boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Set a mesh sieve in sink or over a bowl, and crack 1 egg into sieve. Allow egg to drain for a few seconds, and then carefully pour egg into the water. Repeat for each egg. Simmer eggs 3-5 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon. Set eggs on a paper towel to get rid of excess water.
To prepare sauce, add all remaining ingredients into a small bowl and mix together.
Serve eggs hot with the sauce.
Dijon Sauce adapted from: Health.com