A successful poached egg requires a bit of mastery—the vinegar helps keep the egg together.
1. Fill a small saucepan three quarters full with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
2. Add the vinegar to water and crack the egg into a small bowl or ramekin.
3. Use a wooden spoon to stir the water, creating a whirlpool, or vortex.
4. Gently slide the cracked egg into the vortex—it should spin around a bit. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.
5. After 10 seconds, use a slotted spoon to gently move the egg, making sure it hasn’t stuck to the bottom of the saucepan.
6. Let the egg cook at a low simmer until it has reached desired doneness. For us, that means around 2:30 for just-set whites and completely liquid yolks, or around 3:30 for runny yolks with a little more structure.
7. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, then either serve immediately or cool, refrigerate, and reheat in simmering water when ready to eat.
Originally featured in How to...Cook an Egg