Eggs have always been a comfort food for me. Learning to be gentle with them, and to never rush their cooking has been one of my most important cooking lessons. A perfectly poached egg on top of some cheesy polenta, maybe some re-steamed Japanese rice or earthy mushroom risotto, is pure heaven. As the yolk gently mixes with the grains, no other sauce is required. In the seventies there was a restaurant on Robson Street called Cher Ton Ton. They served a dish called the Geisha Bowl that was Japanese rice topped with stir-fried veg and a poached egg for $5. Lunch just didn’t get much better than that! Of course there were awesome French pastries and wonderful Cappuccinos, too. Oh, to have the Robson Street of old…
1 or 2 eggs per person
water 3” deep (you want the eggs submerged)
a splash of vinegar (this helps to keep the albumen from breaking down)
Bring the water & vinegar to a boil in a pot wide enough to hold the eggs required.
Break the eggs into small cups or bowls.Turn the water down to a shimmer – this is a little gentler than a simmer! The less action in the water, the better the eggs.Add the eggs one at a time, giving each one a chance to set up a bit.
Just watch them, and after a minute or two, ease the spoon under each to release it from the pan.By this time they should be looking uniform – give them three minutes total and then check their doneness by gently pressing the backside of a spoon on the yolk. The yolk should stay in position and give enough that you know it is still liquid. Give them another ½ minute or so ‘til they’re ready.
Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon. If you like you can put them on a papertowel lined plate to absorb any extra water.
(If you need to do more than 4 or 5 eggs, simply cook them in batches, hold the cooked ones in cold water, return to simmering water for 1 minute to reheat. You can even do eggs before hand, and keep them covered with water in the fridge for up to a day and reheat when needed.)