Monday, 6 April 2015

The perfect poached egg x 10

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The pedants will tell me it's not really poaching, it's parboiling. It's true, these eggs are cooked sous vide at 75°C in their shells: eleven minutes from room temperature, thirteen from the fridge. (will I be aware of the moment when I become a sous vide bore?). Once debagged the top of the egg is removed and gently slipped onto the waiting plate, or toast, or haddock. There are few things better than a simple poached egg with a crumbling of Maldon atop a piece of well buttered sour dough toast, the butter not yet melted, the toast supple.

However, if what you want is a cooked yet completely soft egg; the white barely able to constrain the yolk, this is it. What I wanted to explore was if I could do this for my maximum seating of ten guests.

The problem was prising off the tops. You could gently crack the tops with a spoon and then pick off the shell but that took far too long and was exactly the fiddly frustration I try to avoid during a full service. By the time I'd done all ten, everything would have got all sweary and doubtless I would have lobbed one cracked catastrophe at the wall. And anyway, by the time egg ten was ready, egg one would be cold. I needed to find a method that was fast, consistent and reliable.

not this
The solution was an egg topper - or was it? There are mean looking serrated scissor devices but all the comments I read berated them for leaving tiny shards of shell all over. Worse, they pierce the egg itself. Then I found the Rosle Egg Topper - with great reviews. It's a strange looking device and relies on a thin metal flange to shock the shell after you first pull up a little spring released handle. A little twist and the egg top comes away. The action takes about two seconds per egg. The Rosle is of course, five times the price of the ineffective serrated scissors.

This was the result of my first trial of four. Hugely successful. The shell top lifts off cleanly leaving an undamaged egg and no bits of shell.

Oh dear, now we have to eat the experiment. Bread by Holtwhites of Chase Side, Enfield, of course.

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