JULIE BOTNICK (this was first published July 18, 2012)
Each week, we rummage through the dark corners of our kitchen drawers to bring you an enigmatic item. We ask you to guess what it is in our weekly From the From the Back of the Drawer puzzle. To enter this week’s puzzle, visit this page. To read more descriptions of past items, visit this page. And, don’t forget to donate your odd items to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
This week, we found an egg poacher!
Poached eggs have been around as long as there have been eggs, fire, and water. They are called for in diverse brain, fish, and vegetable dishes in the fifth-century Apicius Roman cookery books, and still appear on the pages of haute cuisine texts. The word “poach” comes from the Old French word poché, meaning, literally, bag or pocket. The creamy egg whites and runny yolk make poached eggs delicious complements to practically any savory dish.
But chefs and home cooks are still mystified by how to cook them.
Luckily, this aluminum footed egg poacher will help keep that perfect egg shape during poaching. Add a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice to a shallow pot of water (the acid helps to break down the enzymes in the egg whites, making them stick more closely to the yolk), and bring the water to a simmer. Put the footed egg poacher in the pot, and crack an egg onto the poacher (or crack an egg into a dish, and slid the egg in). Poached eggs usually take about three to five minutes to cook, depending on how firm you want your yolk. These poachers have draining holes in the bottom, so you will not have what Elizabeth David called “sodden toast.”
Our rating: Give it away.
Design: Good, it’s totally cute.
Originality: Average, while it is definitely helpful for keeping the whites together, it did not take that much technology, and was easily replicable.
Practicality: Poor, maybe we were doing it wrong, maybe it was the tool, but how in the world do you get the poached egg off the stand? We had to scrape it, breaking the yolk in the process. We also couldn’t figure out how much water to put in. Putting a shallow pool left the top uncooked, while covering it with water separated the whites and left the yolk exposed. We finally decided to fill the pot with water up to the rim, crack the egg into the tin while it was above water, then slowly lower egg and tin back into the pot.