Poaching eggs looks harder than it really is and is much easier to do with fresh eggs rather than ones a week or more old. Another popular and very helpful tip is to add a little vinegar to the poaching water so that the white sets quickly and you don’t freak out at the sight of all those threads of egg white floating around in the water.
If you would rather not use the vinegar, there are several ways to go about getting perfectly poached eggs without vinegar. Here is a quick rundown of a few of these:
Use the microwave– Crack the egg into half a teacup of water, cover and microwave for about a minute. Just be prepared for a couple of initial misses as you figure out the proper power setting and number of minutes to suit your microwave oven.
Ms. Child knows best– Julia Child’s trick involves using a pin to prick a hole in the bigger end of the egg. You then put the egg to boil for ten seconds, cool it down a bit and crack it into a pot of gently simmering water.
Plastic wrap, anyone?– Though not yielding the prettiest result, some people swear by this method as being the most fool proof. Crack the egg into a cup lined with plastic wrap. Gather up the ends of the plastic and tie them. Poach the egg in the “bag” in simmering water and cut it out when done.
Classical– Crack the egg into a small container. Get the water to a gentle simmer and stir it to make a vortex in the center. Carefully pour the egg out into the vortex and LEAVE IT to poach.
Strain away your troubles– In this method the egg is cracked into a strainer which allows the loose and bothersome whites to pass through. The remaining egg is then gently turned out into simmering water to poach.