Egg Poachers

Egg Poachers

I finally caved in and bought a pair of stainless steel egg poachers, for 3€ each.

When even the best advice and tips don’t help and your poached eggs are ugly ducklings everytime, you can either settle for a life without home-poached eggs (too terrible to contemplate), or humbly admit to your own failings, and resort to the tool that some genius designed — probably because s/he was missing that same gene.

We tested the poachers the other night, bringing water to a boil in a large saucepan, breaking fresh eggs inside the buttered hollows, and lowering them carefully into the water. We left them in for three minutes, shuffling anxiously around, worrying about the hovering white filaments, relieved when they eventually disappeared. We lifted the poachers out by their convenient tails, drained the eggs on paper towels, and served them on warm slices of garlic-rubbed toasted bread.

The result? A slightly unnatural shape (a sharp half-oval with tiny spots from the holes in the cups), but a perfect consistency. Not to mention, the poachers look like cute little rodents that work as fuzzy inverted mirrors, should you feel like practising goofy faces while you wait for the water to boil. And just how many kitchen utensils will do that for you?

  • Hi Clotilde,
    When you butter the surfaces of these, does the butter come off quickly when it hits the boiling water?
    Joyeux Noël!

  • I’ve never seen these before and now i want a pair! My poached eggs are mostly a disaster and look like an explosion of white that i then try to scoop out of the water…. sigh.

  • i have never been brave enough to admit to my egg poaching deficiencies. i was ashamed. i felt alone. now, i know that it is not a personal shortcoming but a genetic trait that has robbed me of the joy of eggs joyously poaching in my own kitchen and i feel much, much better. yes, i too have often eyed such charming egg poachers with enthusiastic curiosity. wondering if they were as efficient as they were charming. i was hopeful, but, not willing to commit to the purchase of another kitchen gadget that might disappoint and add clutter. thank you, clotilde, for removing the stigma we poaching challenged primates have suffered over the years and given us a real solution. now, proudly holding our heads up high, we can successfully poach our own eggs at home! (where was the orchestra? they were supposed to start quietly and swell providing inspirational music behind that last little bit. it’s so hard to get a good orchestra during the christmas season with all the performances of the nutcracker and fancy masses and all. )

  • Pim

    So, now that you’ve mastered regular poached eggs, could I interest you in another one? Not poaching exactly, but cooking the egg very slowly in a barely simmering water, at a constant 147F for 1 hour exactly. (technique courtesy of David Kinch)

    I had it as part of a dish at Manresa that has been my favorite of late, that egg, with parmesan cheese in a soup of white bean purée. Sounded deceptively simple, didn”t it? The egg looks at first as a simple coddled egg, with a tiny mound of microplaned ribbons of age parmesan cheese, partially covered by a small tuille cage of crisp cheese, some chives, and with a light sprinkle of sea salt and white pepper. But the egg is not coddled at all, rather it has been slowly warmed, in barely simmering water, for nearly an hour to arrive at the point where the egg white is just set, gently taking prisoner the bright red and still thoroughly runny yolk. A soup of purée white beans is poured over the egg at the table. The soup, a creamy and satin smooth texture lends the dish the earthiness and mouth-feel that is an absolutely perfect foil for the richness of the soft egg, punctuated by the strong sharpness of the cheese, a light pang of spice from the chive bits and pepper, and the light crunch from the tuille, building the dish into a gorgeous and slow revelation of flavors and textures. Finesse, in every sense of the word.

    Oh now I’m hungry again, and I just had lunch!


  • Pim

    Oh, another thing, no, David didn’t invent the technique, I only meant that he was the one who taught it to me. That low temperature egg is all the rage in gastronimic restaurants.

  • Hey, those are lovely. I’ve just got to find a couple of those. My trick is not adding anything to the water, but to stir it to get the best vortex you can get and then gently drop the egg in the center of the vortex. It usually holds the egg together quite nicely. But it does limit you to one egg per pan.

  • Dave – I’m not sure what you mean: the butter is trapped between the egg and the cup, and I think it is there to prevent the egg from sticking to the cup. You hardly taste it in the finished product. Joyeux Noël to you and your family, too!

  • Penny

    I lightly buttered the egg poacher and broke the egg into it. No problem with butter releasing into the water. I think the point is to make a non-stick barrier between the metal poacher and the raw egg. Butter works well for this. The little tail of the poacher is really cute. After 3 min boiling, I took it out by the tail and rested the poacher on paper napkins to drain. Then plop onto the toast and yum-yum into me. Excellent device.

  • cecil

    do not fear the poaching of an egg! my family has been doing eggs benedict on holidays for some time now and I have the technique down, and it is so easy.. just boil water, then turn it down till the bubble calm down. you want the water to be as hot as possible without the bubbles that will disturb the structure of the egg white. and it needs to be just deep enough that the eggs are covered. i have done 4-6 in a large frying pan!

    break the egg(s) gently into the water.

    then be patient. there will be some white clouding here and there, that is to be expected. just ignore that and focus on the white that clings to and surrounds the yolk.

    the trick is … when is it done?? Easy! early on, after the egg(s) turn white, nudge the handle of the pot/pan slightly and watch the white of the egg, next to the yolk. you will see a ripple, very ‘loose’ at first. ever now and then, repeat until the ripple firms up and is barely noticible, that means it is done.

    i use a spoon with holes, i presume a slotted spoon would work also. just lift the egg and let the water drain out the hole or slot. it will slide effortlessly off the spoon onto the awaiting …. toasted, buttered english muffin?

    as is with a little salt, or grand with canadian bacon and hollandaise … but don’t forget the champaigne.

  • what time should we show up a cecil’s house? i’ll bring the hollandaise!

  • cecil

    of course you are welcome to visit (sf bay area, usa … just give a little notice!), but the point is … its only poached eggs! Do not be daunted. It is so simple, keep the water hot enough, know when are they done, and how to deliver the goods! Just read the post … and CONGRATS to the award winning food blogger!

  • chris

    after serving too many ugly “vortex” eggs, I received 4 of the rat shaped egg poachers for christmas. they’re great, especially with fresh farmers’ market eggs. if you have friends for brunch, plop batches of 3-minute poached eggs into cold water then, when you have enough, put them all back in simmering water for exactly 1 minute. they’ll be the right temperature and consistency; and will have allowed you enough time to make hollandaise!

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