Happy New Year’s Breakfast
Many new years ago, back in the Miami days, a bunch of friends went out for a New Year’s Day breakfast in the wee hours of the morning. There was an old bar, Fox’s to be precise, which served a breakfast menu all day.
Naturally I ordered poached eggs.
There is little more soothing and more perfect than a pristine poached egg on toast. Even an egg that is less than pristine will most likely pass muster after a long evening of celebrating the end of one year, and the promise of the next.
Now I don’t know how hard you’ve been partying, or the condition that you may find yourself in right now. It’s possible you still haven’t slept. And it’s possible you feel like death warmed over. But I promise you, if you can boil water, you are half way to salvation.
If you are really desperate to learn how to do this, you can skip this next section.
In the remote wilds of south-central Pennsylvania I happened to find a most amazing natural foods market. In addition to local pasture-fed raw-milk (which I will talk about soon) and aged cheeses from the same raw milk, I found local eggs that were gathered the very same day.
Should you find eggs that are this fresh, there is only one course of action: poach them.
The sad truth is that I’ve never really had great luck making poached eggs. There are some who say the secret is in making a vortex in a pot of simmering water and dropping shelled eggs into the spiraling waters. Others insist upon using a non-stick skillet, which these days I’m avoiding like the plague. Using poaching cups is clearly out of the question, especially down on the farm where equipment is limited.
So I decided to call up my expert on the form, my oldest friend ADS who has his own chickens, and made me the best poached eggs of my life, every morning, on my most recent trip to California. While I tried to watch him in action, I didn’t really take great notes. But after our recent conversation, I now have his secret, which may or may not work for your very old supermarket eggs.
It’s crazy easy. Ready? Here we go.
1) Boil water in a covered pan deep enough to submerge an egg
2) Put bread in toaster (but do not start it yet)
3) Put in a good slug of plain white vinegar
4) Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the burner
5) Carefully drop in the eggs, one at a time
6) Cover the pan
7) Start the toaster
8) Wait about three minutes
9) Poke the eggs with your finger, they should feel done
10) Take them out with a slotted spoon
11) Dry them on a smooth (aka not terrycloth) dish towel
12) Put them on the toast
13) Don’t forget salt and fresh ground pepper
14) Try not to moan too loudly as you enjoy
Now ADS wasn’t sure this method would work for eggs that had seen refrigeration, but it did. And I imagine the older your eggs are, the more prone their whites may be to dispersing in the poaching liquid.
But fear not.
With a little more care you can stack the deck in your favor. Simply crack the eggs into small bowls or cups, and lower them into the simmering water, letting the egg cook slightly in the cup before letting it go into the pan. If this seems challenging to you now, it’s not. It should make a lot more sense as you watch the process in action. Trust me.
Now get some food in your belly, because it’s 2012 dammit, and we’ve got a lot of work to do. Hope you are fired up, because I know that I am. Yargh!