How to make the perfect poachie, plus an eggs-ellent fancypants breakfast
When it comes to nutrient-dense goodies, it's really hard to top eggs. They float the boats of vegetarians and omnivorous people alike, can be cooked so many different ways and they're dead simple and quick if you're in a pinch. They're even cost effective! WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT EGGS?! I eat eggs probably six out of seven days. But what about your cholesterol?! I hear you cry! Thanks for your concern, you lovely, thoughtful reader, however my cholesterol is in tip top shape. In fact, current research has debunked the connection between egg consumption and high LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), so you can eat them to your heart's content provided you've got no existing concerns about your cholesterol. Obviously with any animal-sourced fat, eggs contain saturated fat, but not much (about 1.6g in an average yolk). Blood cholesterol levels are usually affected more when dietary cholesterol (ie, the stuff from animal products) is coming in with saturated fat. What we forgot about when we were studying the effects of eggs is that the typical Western diet was eating them with bacon, sausages and buttered toast - ie, a lot of saturated fat - so the effect of the dietary cholesterol in eggs on blood cholesterol levels was worse because of what we were eating them with. For reference, the average egg has about 186mg of dietary cholesterol, and the recommended intake is around 300mg of cholesterol daily (200mg if you have above normal cholesterol to begin with), so an egg a day is fine for most people. Basically, if you're eating eggs daily as part of a healthy, varied diet then you shouldn't worry about the effect the eggs are going to have on your LDL cholesterol levels. So now that we have that sorted, here are some fun factoids about eggies:
- Great source of super absorbable protein (about 6 grams per egg)
- High in choline, which is important for brain development for your bump if you're preggers
- High in lutein, which is ace for eye health (you can also get lutein from spinach and kale, though a bit of fat will better its absorption)
- One of the very few dietary sources of vitamin D (the sun vitamin). Vitamin D is a powerful dude that gives calcium a hand being absorbed so we can have healthy bones and teeth
If you look at any café breakfast menu these days, you'll be sure to find some sort of poached egg option. I used to always go for the poached eggs because I kept having poachie fails in the kitchen at home. But, alas, now you can choose whatever you damn well like, because I'm about to teach you how to make perfect poached eggs with that elusive runny #yolkporn yolk.
The Perfect Poached Egg
- An egg, duh*
*obvious, yes, but not just any egg. Poaching eggs is much easier the fresher your eggs are. If you're not sure, put the egg (shell and all) into a bowl/jug of water. If it sinks and stays on the bottom, that's the freshest you can get. If it sinks but kind of chills out on an angle, it's not too bad and probably about a week old. An egg that sinks but stays upright is a couple of weeks old and you should never, ever use an egg that floats. Generally, as long as your egg sinks and is somewhat on the long side, you'll be fine.
Please also use eggs from happy chickens. I know not everyone has access to or can afford local organic biodynamic eggs (which are the top of the wozza in the egg world), and I fully support eating as well as you can within your means BUT eggs and chooks ruffle my feathers (...sorry not sorry...). At the very least, go free range. If you can get free range from the farmers market, even better. Organic free range from the farmers market, even better! And so on. They'll be cheaper there, too.
Some people find it's easier to poach an egg that is room temperature, rather than straight out of the fridge.
- Grab yourself a shallow, wide-ish saucepan and fill it up until it's about a middle finger deep
- Pop it on the stove on medium heat and bring it to the point that you can see the little bubbles on the bottom of the pan. You don't want the water to be boiling, poaching by nature is a gentle cooking process
- Crack your egg into a little bowl or ramekin that will be easy for you to pour from and have a plate with some paper towel folded onto it at the ready, next to the stove
- Grab a slotted spoon and use the handle to stir the water slowly in a circle to create a whirlpool. You can have a go stirring and watching to see if you've made a whirlpool a few times before you crack your egg in to perfect your technique
- Now, make your whirlpool and as you bring the spoon out of the water, pour the egg into the centre of the whirlpool, bringing the lip of the bowl to the water
- The whirlpool effect keeps the white compacted and spins it onto itself as it cooks. I find sometimes I need to get the spoon in around the edge of the saucepan to up the ante on the whirlpool if the white starts to go too stringy. You will get some straying egg white that'll float to the top and go foamy, that's normal. You just want a majority of the white to be circling around the yolk ;)
- If you've got more than one egg, repeat the process but just be careful you don't smack the egg(s) in the water already
- Leave the egg to poach for about 3 minutes before using the slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the water and pop it on the paper towel you have handy
And that's it!
Want to know how to make this?
Dukkah dusted poached egg on avo feta smash and rocket
- 1 or 2 eggs
- Half an avo
- 1Tbs dukkah
- Handful rocket (or baby spinach)
- 1/4C feta cheese (cow's, goat's, soft, hard...up to you) roughly chopped
- Scoop the avo into a bowl and throw in the feta. Use a fork to smash it together until it's combined but still rough and ready
- Pop some rocket into a bowl and top with the avo/feta mix and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and some lemon juice
- Poach the eggs
- Spoon the eggs onto the avo/feta smash
- Sprinkle the dukkah over the whole lot
- Serve with crusty toasted bread if you're into it, or tuck in on its own