What could be more versatile than a poached egg?

The humble egg is a power house when it comes to nutrition. It is the most complete food you can eat, giving all of the proteins and most of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet.

One of the healthiest and best ways to cook and egg is to poach it. Some people find this easy, others just can’t get it right.

A few top tips to perfect poached eggs…

  1. Your egg needs to be really fresh. The white of the egg should be mainly gelatinous, with the yolk sitting proud on top and only a small amount of watery white. As the egg ages, the white becomes more runny and won’t stay together when dropped into the poaching water.
  2. Use a wide, shallow pan filled three quarters full with water.
  3. Add a splash of wine or cider vinegar to the poaching water. This helps keep the white together and the colour bright.
  4. Bring the poaching water up to almost boiling and create a vortex in the middle of the pan with a wooden spoon. Drop your egg into the middle of the vortex. This helps the egg white stay together when it is dropped into the water. Once the egg is in the pan, reduce the heat a little to prevent the water boiling again.
  5. Let the egg cook without disturbing it for about a minute before gently easing it off the bottom of the pan if necessary.

Here are some approximate timings for poached eggs to give a runny yolk. If you like your yolk set, just cook for a little longer.

Egg Refridgerated Ambient
Large Hen’s 3 mins 2 Mins
Medium Hen’s 2 1/2 mins 1 1/2 mins
Duck 4 1/2 mins 3 1/2 mins

Three great recipes to take you through the year with poached eggs…

A bowl of Kerelan spiced vegetables with poached eggs

Kerelan Vegetables

This is a delicious way to jazz up cabbage or any vegetables, I like mine with poached eggs on top.

Serves 1

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp black mustard seed

½ tsp cumin seed

Pinch chilli flakes

1 tbsp root ginger, finely grated

¼ tsp ground turmeric

125g cabbage, sliced

1 med carrot, cut into 5mm dice

50g fresh or frozen grated coconut

1 green chilli, sliced (optional)

Salt & pepper

2 – 3 poached eggs (optional)

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan on a medium high heat. Add the mustard seed & when it starts to pop, add the cumin seed and chilli flakes.
  2. Reduce the heat a little, add the ginger & turmeric.
  3. Stir, then add the sliced cabbage and diced carrot.
  4. Stir & mix everything well, add a splash of water to the pan, put a lid on the pan and leave to steam for 5mins.
  5. Stir through the green chilli and coconut, taste for seasoning and serve.
A dish of poached eggs served on toast with steam fried mustard sprouts

Poached Eggs on Toast with Stir Steamed Mustard Sprouts

I made this one night when I was home alone, a nice alternative to avocado. Sprouts, mustard and eggs go well together.

Serves 1

1 small onion, finely sliced

6 to 8 sprouts, finely sliced

1 tsp oil

5cm piece French bread or whatever you have.

2 eggs

5g butter

2 tsp chopped tarragon

½ tsp Dijon mustard

Splash white wine vinegar

Paprika to sprinkle (optional)

Salt & pepper

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add a splash of vinegar and poach the eggs for approx. 2 minutes each for a runny yolk.
  2. Toast the bread
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan, add the sliced onion, fry for a few moments until softened, then add the sprouts. Stir fry again, add the mustard and a splash of water. Turn down the heat and put a lid on the pan. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender. Stir through ¾ of the tarragon, season with salt & pepper.
  4. Tip the onions and sprouts onto the warm toast, top with the poached eggs, dot with butter and finish with a sprinkle of paprika.
An image of vegetable rosti served with poached eggs and herb butter

Vegetable Rosti with Poached Eggs

Serves 2

200g floury potatoes – Maris Piper, Desiree, Rooster…

100g mixed root vegetables – carrot, parsnip, turnip, celeriac

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped rosemary or thyme

Salt & pepper

30g butter

Drizzle of oil

Eggs – hens or ducks, 1 or 2 each depending on appetite

15g butter mixed with 1 tsp mixed fresh herbs – parsley, chives, thyme, sage, tarragon.

  1. Coarsely grate the potatoes, put into a cloth and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Coarsely grate the root vegetables and mix with the potato, adding salt, pepper & herbs.
  3. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based frying pan, take a 10cm cutter or ring and place it in the frying pan. Divide the vegetable mixture in two and when the butter is foaming, press half the mix into the ring.  Press down well, then carefully remove the ring.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.  Cook gently on a medium heat for approx. 5 min turn with a fish slice or spatula and cook for another 5 min.
  4. While the rosti is cooking, heat a large, shallow pan of water, add a splash of vinegar and once the water is at a fast simmer, poach the eggs. Large hens eggs take about 2 min, duck eggs 3 min.
  5. Once everything is ready, place the rosti on plates, lift the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and drain well. Place on top of the rosti and dot with a little of the herb butter to serve.