Every now and then I happen upon a shortcut that revolutionizes the way I eat. This is one of them.
I adoooore poached eggs. Whether on an english muffin, on a bed of sauteed greens, on a salad, on pasta as a take on carbonara, on a bare plate with some crusty bread to mop up the silky yolk… poached eggs make regular appearances on my table, and they don’t care whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.
But they are a big finicky – you have to haul out a deep pan, wait for the water to simmer, and they need to be babysat so as not to overcook them. A bit too much trouble when you only want one egg.
This morning, I had my water boiling for tea and I had my bread in the toaster when an intense poached-egg craving struck. It was unpleasantly early in the morning, I was bleary-eyed and in a hurry, but from this rough state, the microwave poached egg idea was born.
I ended up going through 6 trials and 6 eggs to get it right, plus 15 minutes of snapping photos (incidentally, all photos on this post were taken with my iPhone). So much for my hurry. But the outcome? Game-changing. A poached egg in 45 seconds with the teakettle and the microwave. Perfectly formed whites, and luscious, runny yolks.
White egg + white dish. Can you spot him?
A few tips for success:
The egg cooks unevenly, so you need to gently turn it over part way through. If you don’t, the visible half of the egg will overcook, while the underside remains raw.
Take it out of the hot water with a big spoon as soon as it’s done cooking, as it will rapidly go from perfect to overdone if you let it sit in the water.
The vinegar is very important – it keeps the egg white intact. I did one trial without it and the white became a stringy mess.
I think it’s going to be a poached egg on toast every morning from now until Easter…
How to Poach Eggs in the Microwave
- 1 egg
- boiling water
- 1 tsp white vinegar
Pour boiling water into ramekin to 3/4 full, and add the vinegar. Crack an egg and gently slip it into the water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Use a soup spoon to gently turn the egg over. Cover again and microwave 15 seconds longer. Remove immediately from water and drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
This produces a runny poached egg. Increase cooking time to 60 seconds total for an egg that is fully cooked.