Tag: Poached eggs

Eggs Benedict for a special breakfast

Eggs Benedict for a special breakfast

Eggs Benedict is an easy dish to make, and you probably only need 15 minutes. If you have 30 minutes, you can serve a large household.

What exactly is Eggs Benedict? It is just

  1. A toasted English muffin
  2. Sautéed ham or Canadian bacon
  3. Two poached eggs
  4. Hollandaise sauce

So, what’s so hard here?

A lot of people stumble on poaching eggs, but we’ve already covered two foolproof methods in detail.

Method one: swirling water

vortex

Bring salted water to a boil in a wide 4 quart saucepan. Swirl the water into a little whirlpool in the pan using a whisk. Break each egg into a cup and slip it into the side of the whirlpool. Repeat with the second egg. You can make up to four eggs at a time this way. To make enough for a regiment, see the next section.

The eggs are done when you don’t see any remaining uncooked white. Don’t overcook them to the “golf ball” stage. (This is actually hard to do if you are watching. You’ll see when they are done.

Method two: a kettle of water with salt and vinegar

Fill an eight quart kettle (such as a spaghetti cooker) with water and add ½  cup of salt and ¼ cup of vinegar. Bring to a boil. Break each egg into a cup and slip it into the gently boiling water. The egg will drop to the bottom, and will float back up when it is done. Check it before removing it, as sometimes the “parachute” comes up before the whole egg surfaces.

Keep breaking eggs and slipping them into the pan until everyone’s eggs are cooked. Remove them to a pan of warm water to rinse off the excess salt.

 

Hollandaise

Hollandaise it pretty easy to make. For Eggs Benedict, we use the blender approach.

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • ¼ lb (1 stick) butter
  • Salt and a trace of cayenne pepper

Put the 3 egg yolks and the lemon juice in the bowl of the blender and pulse briefly until mixed. Melt the butter in a glass pitcher in a microwave oven for one minute. It should be bubbling. Turn on the blender and immediately pour in the hot butter. It should cook on the spot to a thick creamy sauce. If it is too thin, you can heat it briefly over low heat in a saucepan.

The final dish

Place the sautéed ham or bacon on the toasted and buttered English muffin and place an egg on each half, using a slotted spoon. Pour the creamy Hollandaise over top. Time? About 15 minutes, unless you have an awfully slow stove for boiling the water. Decorate with parsley.

 

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Poached eggs for a crowd

Poached eggs for a crowd

It is very easy to poach a couple of eggs in a saucepan for a couple of minutes and come out with nice looking perfectly cooked eggs. We use the swirl method, which causes the stray white to wrap around the egg instead of filling up your pan. While it is time consuming, you can also cook them in an Instant Pot: it doesn’t work very well.

But suppose you are making poached eggs for a crowd. We once made Eggs Benedict for 11: that’s 22 eggs. How can you do this quickly and efficiently? Fortunately mass production of poached eggs has been solved years ago, and Harold McGee describes it in his magnum opus, On Food and Cooking.

You use a large pot and add 1 Tb of salt and ½ Tb of vinegar per quart of water. What happens seems almost like a magic trick: you break the eggs into the pot of barely boiling water. They sink to the bottom. But when the eggs are done, they float to the top. You lift them out and put them on toast or muffins to serve. There is no need to keep track of which egg is next. You just keep adding eggs and lift them out when they pop up.

What is happening is a little bit of chemistry:  the vinegar reacts with a bit of bicarbonate in the egg whites, forming small bubbles of carbon dioxide. As the egg white coagulates, the bubbles get trapped in the cooking egg. The salt increases the density of the water just enough that after about 3 minutes of cooking the eggs and their bubbles will float to the surface. And there are no long tails of uncooked white, either. They always look perfect!

To make this work best, you want to use freshly bought eggs, and for a large crowd, use an 8-quart spaghetti cooker pan.

For our photos, to make it easier to see, we used just a 3 quart pan, but you could easily do 6-8 eggs in it, scooping them out as they float to the surface.

And that’s the whole trick. And for even a few eggs, this is a really helpful trick!

Microwaved Poached Eggs

Someone is always publishing some other weird idea for cooking eggs, and here’s another one that doesn’t really work: microwave poached eggs. Supposedly, you put ½ cup of water into a small bowl, break an egg into the water, and cover the dish with a plate and microwave it for a minute.

We tried it, and the egg was seriously overcooked. And while we could have fooled with it to find the right time for our microwave oven, we didn’t bother, because it really doesn’t scale much beyond 2 eggs. You’d have to do them separately, and you get a lot of little bowls (and plates) dirty.

Stick with the swirl method for 2-4 eggs and use the crowd method for large numbers of customers.

How to poach eggs without skootzie

How to poach eggs without skootzie

“Skootzie” is a name my aunt had, as a little girl, for trails of uncooked egg. Here’s how to make poached eggs in minutes in an ordinary saucepan and avoid having to wash all the pieces of a commercial egg poaching pan. And the eggs will look better, too! And there won’t be any skootzie!

We usually poach 2 eggs in a 2 quart saucepan, and use a 3 quart pan for 4 eggs or so. We have another method for larger quantities we’ll write about separately.

All you need here is a pan of water, a wire whisk, a little cup and a slotted spoon to lift the eggs out with. Oh, and some toast.

Begin toasting 2 slices of toast before cooking the eggs.

Bring salted water to a boil in the saucepan, and reduce the heat to a simmer, so the water isn’t bumping.

Break one egg into the cup and have the other ready to follow.

Using the whisk, stir a vortex of water into the simmering water. (Since the whisk never touches anything but the water, you don’t even have to wash it!)

Dump the egg into the side of the vortex. The egg will spin in the water, and all of the tails of the white (the skootzie) will wrap around the egg.

two egg swirlQuickly break the second egg into the cup and dump it into the vortex as well.

Let the eggs cook for 3-4 minutes until the white is firm but the yolk still soft. Butter the toast while you have time.

liftingLift the eggs out and place on a slice of buttered toast.

commercial poacherNow, isn’t that easier than using this contraption? You have about 6 pieces to wash, and the little cups don’t always release the eggs, meaning that you have to loosen then with a knife, but without breaking the eggs, Too much trouble!