There are two ways to poach an egg: the hard way, by dropping the egg into boiling water and magically making it come out in one piece, and the easy way, by using an egg poacher. The hard way actually is easy, you just have to have the touch, and to get the touch you need a lot of practice and a lot of eggs.
This weekend is Mothers' Day, and mothers, for some reason, like poached eggs. I am no exception. My man Maxwell doesn't quite have the touch, nor the time to get it, for poaching eggs the hard way, so we decided to try out an egg poacher made by Calphalon.
Maxwell's Calphalon poached eggs (left) and my messy, traditionally poached egg (right).
The Calphalon Egg Poacher allows you to poach six eggs at once, which is a plus if you're poaching up a storm for, say, a Mother's Day brunch. Maxwell watched the demonstration video on the Williams-Sonoma site and then got down to business. He nailed it on the first try. My only critique was that going on the suggested three-minute cooking time, the eggs turned out a little rubbery for my taste. I would caution those who like the yolk runny to reduce the cooking time to two and a half minutes.
For contrast, I poached an egg afterward "the hard way" and realized how out of practice I was. I still prefer the less uniform shape of a traditionally poached egg (even one as messy as the one above), but realize for most home-cooks, it's sometimes better to just go the easy route.
Pluses: Makes poaching eggs incredibly simple. You can poach six just as easily as one. You can monitor progress and remove the eggs at different points of done-ness (for those who like them runny, or not so).
Minuses: Although the cups are removable leaving you with a nice 10" skillet, it's still another gadget in your kitchen and I worry about keeping the whole apparatus intact . The poached eggs are so uniform in shape that you lose some of the character of the poached egg. The eggs can be difficult to remove from the cups (we had to slice off the cooked leaked egg whites, see photo above)
The Calphalon One Egg Poacher is available at Williams-Sonoma ($49.95)