How to Make the Perfect Poached Egg on Toast, a very British Breakfast.
Poached egg on toast is one of my absolute favourite breakfasts. The creaminess of the salt and peppered egg on top of crunchy buttered toast, all washed down with a cup of freshly made tea of course, immediately transports me back to the steamy windowed kitchen in England on a cold morning. It’s funny, I was never really a morning person until the last few years, and I hardly ever ate eggs for breakfast, usually opting for a grapefruit and / or Marmite on toast. Lately though I can’t get enough of poached egg on toast. The simple combination of eggs and bread is another one for my list of nostalgia provoking comfort foods along with things like Mashed Potato, Pickled Onions and Pickled Beetroot.. mmm! Oh and poaching is one of the healthier ways to cook eggs too, no oil necessary!
Poaching an egg may seem daunting to some people, there are a myriad of special pots and utensils for the job. It is actually quite surprising how many different contraptions there are for poaching eggs! There are individual poachers that you hang over the edge of the pot of boiling water, there are little plastic ‘pods’ you put directly in the pot. There is a special poaching pan that is like a normal saucepan but it has a piece that fits over like a lid except it has compartments for the eggs to cook in individually – I remember we had one of those when I was a kid. There are even microwaveable egg poachers of various designs, some cute chicken shaped ones, some that look a bit like sandwich toasters and then there’s my favourite, a toaster that has built-in egg poachers! I don’t own any kind of special egg poaching device, I just use the old-fashioned ‘pot of boiling water with a dash of vinegar & whirlpool‘ method, although I wouldn’t mind one of those toaster/poachers, they look pretty cool.
Method for Perfect Poached Eggs:
Oh I forgot to mention before that one very important factor in successful egg poaching is the use of FRESH EGGS, the fresher the better. Eggs a week or more old will still work but will not turn out as well as fresher eggs will. The white will not wrap around nicely and will probably separate a little, but they still taste good.
You will need a small-medium sized saucepan or a deep frying pan, water, vinegar, eggs, a slotted spoon and kitchen towel.
1. Boil the kettle if you have one (saves time and gas), and in a small-medium saucepan or a deep frying pan pour in at least 2 inches (5cm) of water and bring back to the boil. If you don’t have kettle then just heat the water in the pan until boiling.
2. Now get the toast toasting and take the butter out of the fridge to soften up for spreading.
3. Egg Poaching Secret # 1: Once water is boiling, pour in a splash of white vinegar – any vinegar will do but if it is coloured it can tint the egg slightly. This is a very important step to making the perfect poached egg, the vinegar somehow helps the egg to stay together. If you have ever tried without the vinegar you will know how the white of the egg doesn’t hold together, it becomes all stringy and looks rather messy and unappetising.
4. Egg Poaching Secret # 2: After adding the vinegar, stir the water round fast with a spoon or use a whisk to create a whirlpool effect in the pot, this is the moment to drop the egg right into the centre of the vortex. The spinning motion helps the egg stay together and wraps the white around the yolk in a nice neat little ball.
Note: I always break the egg into a small cup first to avoid the risk of ruination, although many people just crack it direct into the vortex – go for it if you feel daring!
5. Let the egg simmer for 2-3 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary, keep an eye on it, don’t let the water bubble up and over.
6. Once ready turn off heat, take the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and lay it on a piece of kitchen towel to soak up the excess water or you will have soggy toast – YUK! Meanwhile butter the toast that should have just popped up out of the toaster.
Note: If you don’t have any paper towel then with the egg is still on the slotted spoon, carefully lift the edges with another spoon and allow water to drip off, soggy toast is NOT an option!
8. Serve the egg on top of the buttered toast, season to your liking with salt and black pepper, sit down with a cuppa and enjoy your very British Breakfast of perfect poached egg on toast. Yum.
- Shakshuka: Poached Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers (emmycooks.com)
- Poached egg and smashed avo (cleaneatingattempt.wordpress.com)
- Person’s way of eating eggs ‘can predict personality type’ (todayonline.com)
- Secrets to a better breakfast (minnesotatransplant.wordpress.com)