How I Mastered the Most Basic Cooking Skill

Kitchen Diaries: Kate in New York City

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Recently, I think I may have finally mastered one of the cooking basics. This skill left me bamboozled from start to finish and turned out terribly, with a frustrating pool of stringy egg whites as all I had to offer. Yes, I'm talking about poaching eggs.

Before everyone clamors to explain just how easy it is to poach eggs, let me tell you that this is just one of those things I had resigned myself to being not very good at. (Other example: driving a car with manual transmission.)

Otherwise, I'm a sort of an egg whiz in the kitchen. I pride myself on perfectly done 4-minute soft boiled eggs. I'm a pretty good fry cook that can cook your egg sunny side up or over easy, medium, or hard. I almost never order omelets when dining out because, why when mine are just fine, maybe even great? However, if you ask for eggs Benedict in my house, I can't guarantee you're going to get a nice look. Trust me, it's not the hollandaise, it's the poached eggs that get me. Every. Time. Either they're undercooked or they're overdone. The water is boiling too much or the water is boiling not enough. I didn't swirl enough, the swirl is so big I got water everywhere.

I'm not sure what happened, but something just clicked the other day. I swirled the water, the egg slipped in, and I didn't touch it at all for 3-4 minutes while praying to the god of perfectly cooked eggs. Hey, did I just poach and egg correctly?

→ For a really good step by step, here's some guidance.

Are there any basics you just can't master in the kitchen?

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)