How to poach the perfect egg (…and fish…and dessert)

Poach a perfect eggIn our round-up of top food trends for 2014, we mentioned that poaching would be a popular cooking method this year—and with good reason. Poaching is one of the healthiest ways to cook because it doesn’t rely on fats like oil or butter. What is it exactly? Poaching is a “moist heat” method that uses a simmering liquid to gently cook delicate foods like fish and eggs (although chicken, vegetables, fruit and even sausages can be poached). The cooking temperature is low—ideally 170 degrees, but anywhere between 165 and 185 degrees is acceptable—making it nearly impossible to overcook food or dry it out.

To make the most of poaching and create flavorful dishes, the liquid should always be well-seasoned. For example, fish is often poached in a liquid called court bouillon, eggs in water with seasoned vinegar and sausages can be poached in a beer-infused broth.

A little nervous about poaching the perfect egg? Follow along as we demonstrate in this video. Three key things to remember: Season the water with good vinegar, create a gentle whirlpool and softly flip the finished egg onto your plate so the smooth side is showing.

Here are a couple other ideas to inspire you to get poaching:

 

Poached Whitefish in Court Bouillon

1 onion, cut into quarters

2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces

2 stalks of celery, cut in 2-inch pieces

3 garlic cloves, peeled

5 sprigs parsley

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons fennel seed

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 cups white wine

2 quarts water

2 pounds whitefish fillets, skin removed, cut into 4 evenly sized pieces

In a large stock pot, add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, fennel, salt, black pepper, wine and water. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to simmering (about 170 degrees or until small bubbles form on the bottom of the pan). Using a slotted spatula, gently lower the fish into the simmering liquid and poach for 20 minutes or until the fish is opaque and easily flakes with a fork. Discard poaching liquid.

Nutritional Information (Makes 4 servings)

Per serving: 264 calories; 12 total fat; 100mg sodium; 1g carbohydrates; 1g fiber;37g protein

 

Bananas Poached in Coconut Milk

3 cups coconut milk (enough to cover bananas)

4 medium bananas, peeled, sliced in half then into 3-inch pieces

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped for garnish

In medium saucepan, bring coconut milk almost to a boil then reduce to simmering.  Add bananas, honey and vanilla and poach for 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with poaching liquid and garnish with mint.

Nutritional Information (Makes 4 servings)

Per serving: 221 calories; 3.5 total fat; 20mg sodium; 48g carbohydrates; 3g fiber;2g protein

 

Photo credit: ghirson

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