- Frying or "egg pan" 4-8" wide.
- Spatula or slotted spoon (non-slotted if you want to make your eggs more runny)
- Butter knife
- 1-2 eggs (I use large or jumbo)
- 1-2 pats of butter + butter for toast
- 1 piece of bread
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 3/4-2 cups water depending on size of pan
Now add the vinegar and generous salt and pepper to the water. Crack egg(s) into the water (the vinegar is going to prevent spreading, so you can get them nicely isolated to separate sides of the pan). Let come back to a simmer and lower heat and meanwhile, start the toast. Once the water is back to a simmer, cover and set to very low heat. The toast should be lightly buttered and set on plates before the eggs are done.
Timing from return-to-simmer:
- 3 min - A wiggly white with liquid yoke (don't use a slotted implement on these, or they will break)
- 4-4.5 min - A solid white with some liquid in yoke
- 4.5-5.5 min - Closer to hard-boiled without the shell (5 min can be excellent for egg salad)
Salt and pepper to taste (remember some salt and pepper are in the water and have thus flavored the egg already). Serve with a steak or butter knife and fork. I actually use a smaller salad fork for these, but that's your call.
Try using cultured, unsalted butter for the toast (don't waste the more expensive butter in the pan, since you mostly throw that out anyway). Cultured butter has a little bit of yogurt tang to it and stays fresh because of the live cultures instead of salt as in most butter. You can usually find this in with other butter, but you have to look at ingredients closely. Sometimes unsalted "European butter" will be of this sort.
Also, a flavored salt can be nice in the water. Even strong flavors like smoked salt can work well because only some of the flavor attaches to the egg itself.
I've tried different breads, and I like the really mild sorts. Some people swear by a rustic wheat or sourdough for poached eggs and I think they're insane, but more power to 'em!
Whatever you do, enjoy!