This is a technique of Jacques Pépin for making poached eggs. Failing is not possible using this technique; this is a reliable and exciting technique. People can poach 6 eggs simultaneously using this technique. I was so happy to watch the egg whites coagulate instantly that I thought about smiling. This is one of those things that ALL OF SOCIETY has never mastered on the internet. Jacques Pépin leads people to the finish line with this technique. These poached eggs have great texture. The whites do not feather. I cannot find a simple and complete explanation on the internet to explain why egg whites coagulate when there is vinegar in the water. Since vinegar is acidic, the explanation may involve the presence of acid. An explanation may be that acid coagulates albumen, or that acid changes the temperature of the water to cook the egg whites more quickly. If the acid changes the temperature of the water, then simmering water may have a temperature closer to the boiling point. This may confuse instructions for poaching an egg that use a thermometer since water containing vinegar may, for example, simmer at the boiling point. Using more vinegar causes the egg whites to coagulate completely and immediately.
Jacques Pépin explains that boiling water will agitate the egg while it cooks. He poaches eggs in simmering water. Simmering water makes small bubbles. Boiling water may feather the egg whites. Crack the eggs as close to the surface of the water as possible, or put an egg in a small bowl and slide the egg into the water. Egg whites that splash or hit the surface of the water may feather or spread out. Use a slotted spoon or flexible (plastic) spatula to move the eggs slightly because the eggs can stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the eggs for 3 or 4 minutes. Put them in ice water to immediately stop them from cooking. The water may remove some of the flavor of vinegar from the eggs. I may prefer the texture and flavor of an egg poached in more vinegar. An egg poached without a lot of vinegar is wet and slimy and may have an unexciting texture. When using less vinegar, a poached egg may be trimmed to remove the egg whites that did not coagulate attractively. Some people explain that using salt water makes a poached egg float. The salt changes the density of the water, and a poached egg may be less dense than salty water; a poached egg may be buoyant in salty water.
- In a saucepan, boil 2 1/2 – 3 quarts water and 1/4 cup white vinegar
- Simmer the water, must see small bubbles, do not use still water, boiling water will agitate the egg, put the eggs over simmering bubbles to help to restrict them from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan
- Using a slotted spoon, flexible (plastic) spatula, move eggs around so that they do not stick to the bottom of the pan
- Crack barely over water, or put in a small bowl if worried about burning fingers
- 4 minutes firm, 3 minute less firm
- Put in ice water to immediately stop cooking the egg and to remove some of the vinegar flavor
Some Links (Remember That The Technique Of Jacques Pépin Is Reliable And The Important Knowledge To Have Is Why Egg Whites Coagulate When Vinegar Is Put In The Water):
1. Jacques Pépin: Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001), 66-68.