Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Poached Eggs for Company (Video)

There is no denying that poached eggs are sexy.  They have a way of transforming whatever is on a plate into a rather fancy looking meal.  So what better dish to serve your company for an Easter brunch than poached eggs on a bed of something yummy?

Wait!  Where are you going?  I know what you are thinking.  "I can't even poach 1 egg without ending up with an egg drop soup, and you want me to poach a dozen and risk serving them to company?!"  I feel your pain.  Poached eggs can be rather unpredictable, but there is a little trick called sous-vide that can solve all your egg problems.  

Wait!  Are you leaving again?  Please don't go.  Is it because I said "sous-vide?"  This will not require any expensive machinery.  A huge beer cooler or a large pot of water will work just fine.  If you've tried sous-vide eggs in restaurants and hated them, there is a solution for that too -- cook them to 142F and re-poach them to firm up the white.  Is that easier than normal poaching?  Absolutely.  After being held in a controlled water bath at 142F, the eggs keep their shape perfectly when poached and you can cook as many of them at the same time as you'd like.  Take a look.
YouTube Link: Sous-vide Poached Eggs

I forgot to mention in the video. My timing assumes you start with fridge temperature eggs.

Sept 20, 2013 update:
In the video, I recommend 142F.  But I have recently found other good temperatures.  Each has its pros and cons.

Besides looking and tasting great, these eggs will also provide you with a fabulous topic of conversation. Trust me -- sous-vide cooking is a much safer topic for family gatherings than healthcare policy or religion.

Cooking time for large eggs (~57g): 45min, can continue up to 2 hours
Cooking time for extra large eggs (~64g): 50 min, can continue up to 2 hours
Pros: Lots of time flexibility
Cons: White too soft for some

Cooking time for large eggs (~57g): 40min is ideal, but can continue up to 50 min
Cooking time for extra large eggs (~64g): 45 min is ideal, but can continue up to 55 min
Pros: White is more set than at 142F
Cons: Shorter serving window.  If not ready to serve, the eggs can be removed from the water bath and kept at room temp for up to an hour, then returned to the water bath for 5 minutes to warm up.

Cooking time for large eggs (~57g): 13 minutes exactly
Cooking time for extra large eggs (~64g): 14 minutes exactly
Pros: Ideal white – solid, but very tender.  If you are using a pot with a thermometer method, you only have to watch it for 13 min.
Cons: This is a very time sensitive method.  The results will vary based on the egg type, shape, exactly size, and the size of the yolk  Unless you are cooking 1 egg and eating it immediately, you’ll need an ice-water bath after 13 minutes at 163F to prevent the yolk from overcooking.  Warm up at 140F for 30 minutes before serving.  Can be kept at 140F longer if needed.  I suggest you don't use a beer cooler for this temp since it's pretty hot.  

31 down / 19 more to go


bkida said...

Eureka! You answered my question about poached eggs for large parties after I watched your poached egg video. (Still practicing how to stir a pot of water though as I just can't seem to nail that. ;-)

Anonymous said...

What kind of thermometer do you have? I have some vision problems and the readout looks large and clear. You are turning me into a more adventurous cook. I could never cook much of anything before and now I can even cook fish. thanks

Helen said...

I use a Thermapen. Here is my comparison of several digital thermometers.