How to Take Your Dishes Up a Notch? Add an Egg.

If you’ve watched any of the reality-based cooking shows lately, you know that to take any dish to the next level, all you have to do is put an egg on it. Just one perfectly poached egg atop any entrée adds depth, richness and flavor to a wide range of meals.

Sometimes an egg is the perfect the complementary ingredient to a clean, bright or charred dish. Other times it combines beautifully to enhance existing flavors, or it melts into the dish to create a delicious sauce. Either way, the result is fantastic.

Put an Egg On It!

Now that the myths about eggs not being good for you have been dispelled, you can go back to enjoying these always-on-hand, inexpensive staples with any meal, morning, noon or night. They’re a fun way to add a special twist to your favorite dishes, plus you get a hearty protein boost at the same time.

You can poach your eggs right on top of dishes as they simmer on the stove, or cook them on the side to suit your personal taste.

Here are some fun ideas to inspire your experiments:

Grilled or Roasted Veggies: Turn a simple side into a filling meal by grilling or roasting veggies and finishing them with a poached egg. Eggs work really well with asparagus, Brussels sprouts, diced potatoes, mixed peppers, onions, Portobello mushrooms and more!

Stews: You can add an egg to almost any vegetable-based stew and you’re sure to enjoy it. They pair perfectly with both spicy and tangy flavors. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Pastas and Grains: Considering how delicious poached eggs are in pasta and grain dishes, it’s surprising more people don’t add them in. Try them with your favorite polenta recipes or veggie pasta dishes.

Salads: Hard boiled eggs have been a salad staple forever (think Cobb and Spinach) but a warm poached egg? Now that’s something special. Try adding a poached egg to salads and see how the yolk combines with vinaigrette to create a rich and satisfying dressing.

Here are some poaching pointers to give you perfect results every time:

  • Use the freshest eggs possible for poaching. You can tell because a fresh egg’s white stays thick and firm, not watery. Fresher eggs make a prettier, more compact poached egg.
  • If you’re using a non-stick skillet poach eggs in no more than an inch of water. If you’re using a deep saucepan make sure it contains at least 3 inches of water.
  • Add acid to the poaching liquid: either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per cup of water).
  • Be sure to pre-crack the eggs then add them to the water with a cup or large spoon. You never know when a pesky bit of shell may sneak its way in!
  • First bring liquid to a boil then add eggs. Remove them from heat, and cover to poach.
  • Cooking time varies by taste and depends on how many eggs you’re poaching at once. For barely runny yolks cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes. The more eggs, the longer it will take them to cook. So, for large batches always include an additional "test" egg.  If you like your yolks on the runny side shorten the cooking time.
  • Remove poached eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the dish while they’re still hot. 
  • Eggs can be poached up to a full day ahead of time. Just keep them in the fridge in a bowl of water. Just gently reheat them when you’re ready to serve.

Et voilà! You are now an egg-poaching master. Be sure to let me know how your experimentation goes!