Today I’m introducing a new segment to the blog called Kitchen Hacks, where I share with you some of the little tricks I’ve learned that can help you get in and out of the kitchen in less time and with less mess. Let’s kick things off with a simple trick to help you poach a perfect egg.
I don’t know about you, but I always found poaching to be the trickiest of egg preparations to master. If you don’t have a perfect technique down, you end up asking a million questions to figure out why your egg didn’t turn out right. How hot was the water supposed to be? How should I know if it’s done? Where did all these whispy whites come from? Why does my egg look scraggly instead of smooth? And then there are the myriad tips that you hear about poaching an egg – add vinegar! don’t add vinegar! swirl the water! – which are supposed to help, but instead making the process more complicated.
Here’s a way to make things less complicated: use your microwave. Okay, okay, I know microwaving an egg is not sexy, but once you see how well it works I suspect you’ll be a convert. Even after mastering a proper poached egg on the stovetop, I still use the microwave most often to poach my eggs. Why? Because the microwave produces consistent results that are difficult to replicate with a pot of boiling water.
This makes sense when you compare the environment of a pot of boiling water to that of a microwave. The boiling water is volatile, and the temperature can fluctuate based on the heat of the stove and the temperature of the egg introduced; each time you boil water for an egg the conditions differ slightly. A microwave, on the other hand, produces the same temperatures at the same rate every time it is used, making it an incredibly predictable and, as I said before, consistent tool.
So go ahead and give your microwave a try next time you want to poach an egg. In less than two minutes you’ll have a beautiful egg, with silky yet firm whites and a perfectly creamy yolk. Thanks to this little trick, I find myself cracking open an egg a bit more often, and I hope you will, too. Enjoy your poached egg with crumbled bacon on a salad of mixed greens, broken over a platter grilled seasonal vegetables, or (my favorite) served for breakfast overtop leftover mashed white sweet potatoes.
Perfect Poached Egg (In the Microwave)
Makes 1 poached egg
The one tip I will endorse from the millions recommended for poaching a perfect egg: strain your egg. Adding vinegar or swirling the water isn’t tremendously useful, but straining the egg in a slotted spoon does make a noticeable impact. The bit that is strained off is the more watery part of the white that might otherwise end up as stringy whisps in the water.
1. Fill a small bowl with 2-3 inches of water.
2. Crack the egg over a slotted spoon and allow the watery part of the egg to drain off. You can jiggle the spoon a little to help, but you don’t need to force the egg through. Slide the egg into the bowl of water.
3. Microwave on high for 1:20 to 1:40**. The egg is ready when the whites have turned opaque but still jiggle slightly.
4. Remove egg with slotted spoon and serve immediately. (If you plan to cook another egg in the same bowl after the first one, start with cold water again.)
**Know your microwave! They are not all the same. Don’t worry if your egg cooks in only a minute – perhaps your microwave is much stronger than mine. Watch through the window the first time you microwave an egg to figure out exactly how long it will take.