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How to poach eggs

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All on its own, a perfectly poached egg becomes one of the simplest and quickest meals around — and it makes a lovely breakfast dish for families.

Learning this surprisingly easy technique unleashes the humble egg’s hidden potential: that certain wow-factor when you pierce the yummy, runny yolk and let it ooze over hot buttered toast, Caesar salad or just-cooked pasta, or when it mingles with Hollandaise sauce in eggs Benedict.

In fact, there are myriad other dishes on top of which you can perch a perfectly poached egg. Just follow these basic steps and you’ll be sure to turn out excellent eggs every time.

See our step-by-step slideshow on how to make perfect poached eggs.

Make ahead
You can refrigerate poached eggs for up to 3 hours. Store them on a plate lined with paper towels. To serve, heat water in saucepan according to instructions in Step 1 (see our slideshow). Gently add eggs and cook for 30-45 seconds, until just heated through. Remove eggs and blot as per Step 3.

Top tips
- Use the freshest eggs you can find so that the whites still cling thickly to the yolks and are less likely to disperse during the cooking process.
- Use any light-coloured vinegar you have in the pantry, including white, white wine or white balsamic.
- You will know the water is ready for cooking the eggs when there are small bubbles rising from the base of the pan and there are small ripples across the surface of the water.
- When adding an egg to the water, keep the bowl as close to the surface as possible, and gently slip in the egg.

Now see some of our recipes that use poached eggs

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