How to make perfectly poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce

August 29 | Guest post by Ange
Photo courtesy of Ange.
I have been pursuing two Holy Grails of cooking since I left home and realised I had to feed myself: making fluffy scones and poaching the perfect egg. For the omnivores among us, a perfectly poached egg with a few rashers of honey cured bacon and dollops of Hollandaise sauce is the ultimate meal — breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! Here's how it's done…

Poached eggs:

  • fresh eggs
  • white vinegar
  • saucepan or deep, flat fry pan
  • ramekin

Fill a large(ish) saucepan or a deep, flat fry pan with 3-4cm of water (two inches) and place on your stove or cooker on a medium heat.

Add two teaspoons of white vinegar. Resist the urge to add HEAPS of vinegar or your eggs will taste terrible.

Use the freshest eggs you can find — the smaller the better. As the egg ages the albumen (white bit) doesn't hold together as well so your poached egg will be mostly yolk. You can poach as many eggs at a time as your pan will take but to start I'd stick with one or two eggs.

Break each egg into a mug or little ramekin and, if you need to, pull out any broken bits of shell in the egg.

When the water in your pan is forming lots of bubbles on the bottom of the pan but they're not quite rising to the surface, you're ready to go. Gently slide your eggs from the mug into the pan to cook.

After a couple of minutes, lift your egg gently out of the pan with a slotted spoon and give the egg a jiggle — if there's still some clear, wobbly liquid on the top, the egg needs to cook a little longer. If everything looks firm, drain as much water as you can off your egg (you can put it onto a clean teatowel to drain if you want) and serve immediately.

If you're making eggs for the family (count me in!) you can put each cooked poached egg straight into ice cold water and store on a plate until you're ready to dish up. Then dip each egg into simmering water for 30 seconds to heat it up again.

In summer I like my eggs with fresh asparagus wrapped in streaky bacon rashers and grilled on the BBQ with lashings of Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce

  • 225g butter, melted to a liquid
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 T hot water
  • 1.5 T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch mustard to taste

Whisk egg yolks in a small saucepan over the lowest heat possible (you may need to whisk the eggs in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. They'll start to go light and foamy.
Keep whisking and add the lemon juice.

Slowly pour in the melted butter followed by the hot water while still whisking like crazy (it's good for the bingo wings) until the mixture thickens.

Add salt, pepper, and mustard to taste.

Serve immediately or keep warm until serving.

  1. Lol'd at 'it's good for the bingo wings.' Awesome!

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  2. oh, dear, i will have to try making hollandaise some time. because you are so very right that there is not a thing better than poached eggs, asparagus and hollandaise.

    p.s. – if you haven't had your fill of amazing breakfast after this, and are looking for something to do with those egg whites, i highly recommend cardamom-sweet potato waffles – beaten egg white adds wonderful loft to waffles (i can't find the recipe, but this one is close, only it also uses the yolks…it worked well for us without them, though: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Sweet-Potato-Waffles).

    2 agree
  3. For the engineering minded cooks – the purpose of the vinegar is to help set the proteins in the egg white. (Followers of Alton Brown probably knew that already).

    I add the lemon juice when I whisk the eggs because it gives you a little more play in the temperature before the yolks start to curdle (cook).

    1 agrees
  4. I use clingfilm for poached eggs – it's a lot easier and there's no vinegar-y taste. Hollandaise sauce is my nemesis, though. One day… one day…

    1 agrees
      • Put a square of clingfilm over a small cup, push it down a little and rub a bit of butter or oil into it. Then drop the egg in, twist the clingfilm around it and pop in simmering water til it's done. Because of the clingfilm, it all stays together and it's easy to take it out, see how done it is, and put it back again if needed. You can also cook more than one egg at a time in one pot.

        3 agree
        • Yes! This is seriously the best way to poach eggs (because I suck at every other way of doing it)

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    • Ditto, or even better, use a sandwich bag, then you don't even have to fiddle around making a clingfilm pocket

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  5. If you give the water a couple of stirs so it's swirling gently when you put in the egg, it will come out much neater, apparently. (So says my fiance. I can't poach eggs, myself.)

    0 agree

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