Poaching eggs has gotten a scary reputation. It’s too difficult, they come out funny, blah blah blah. The infamous “they” sell a bunch of devices (some of them rather expensive and ludicrous [meaning foolish not the rapper] ) to help you through your fears. Here’s how you poach an egg without fun accessories.
Be forewarned: It does take a little bit of practice. And, your practice eggs might not be that pretty.
Start with some boiling water and a few splashes of white vinegar. When I say boiling, I mean boiling. Not that pretend boiling you do when you’re cooking pasta and are in a rush. No wimpy little bubbles gently floating to the top. You want full on angry water… raging and boiling. Like so…
While you are waiting for your water to become a pot of fury, crack an egg into a small bowl. If you’re like me, you’ll want to do this in order to avoid getting any shells into your final product (I know, I know. I should crack the egg on a flat surface rather than the side of the bowl. Trust me, I do this. I still end up with shell bits in a decent percentage of my eggs. Sorry, I digress). Putting the egg in a dish also makes pouring the egg into the wrath of water/vinegar a lot easier. I’ve seen people do it in a liquid measuring cup with a little spout. You can try it. I haven’t found it any easier than a small bowl.
Pick a spot in your boiling water to pour in your egg. The spot you choose should be all bubbly. (You’ll notice that there is always a more bubbly spot in the pot.) This will help keep your egg together. So, will your use of a slotted spoon. So, pour your egg in quickly and then corral your egg with the spoon. Do this gently. Just try to keep the white bits from floating away. (Some will. No worries.) And, turn down the heat to simmering.
Now, depending on how hard you like your poached eggs, you let it boil for a bit. I like mine all runny and drippy. (Not like a sick nose, like a nice poached egg.) I would say three minutes is your minimum and five is your maximum. But, again, it depends on how you like your egg, how adamant you were about the boiling thing, and how low you turned down the heat for the simmering. Practice a bit to see what you like.