Posted On: 2015-02-03 11:57:13


1. Bring a wide saucepan or deep frying pan 3/4 full of water to the boil - You need enough water to cover the eggs by about 4cm.

The wide pan shape gives you plenty of room to manoeuvre the eggs. 
Deep, narrow saucepans make your job harder. 
2. Add a splash of vinegar (not a flavoured vinegar or balsamic, as it's too strong in flavour) & season the water with salt.

The vinegar sets the protein in the egg.
Use eggs at room temperature for best results, & the fresher the better, as the white of a fresh egg will stay plumply close to the yolk. 
3. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.

If it is a rolling boil it will make the egg thrash about & produce long strings of white. 
4. Carefully crack the eggs into the water.

If you aren't confident, break each onto a saucer & gently slide them in.
5. Keep the heat low so there's no violent boiling.

Give it time to cook & create a firm base to the egg - about 4-5 minutes for a soft boiled egg.
6. Gently detach the base if it has stuck to the bottom of the pan & lift the egg out.

A perforated fish slice works best.
7. Use a small sharp knife to cut off any stringy bits & form a perfect oval shape.
This is what chefs do, they don't worry about getting it perfect in the pan. You just clean it up afterwards.
If you need to cook a lot of soft poached eggs, undercook them slightly but make sure they are firm enough to move without breaking & place them into a big wide bowl of iced water, which will stop them cooking. 

They can be stored in the fridge for an hour or so.
All you need to do when serving is reheat in simmering water for a minute or two - another chefs trick.

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