5 May 2012

Is it possible to microwave a poached egg?

Photo c/o www.joyfulabode.com
Currently, the answer to that is "yes, so long as you want a hard yolk to your egg!".

I conducted an interesting experiment this morning.  I hadn't been out of bed for long - in fact, I was only just out of bed in that I was sitting on the edge drinking some tea and wishing I was back in the warms again - and was pondering on what to do with the extra vegetables we seem to have accumulated in the fridge.

We've got a large pack of asparagus, some broccoli, half an aubergine, a vine ripened tomato and a number of Jersey Royal potatoes - and that's just for starters.  Looking at that list now, I can see a lovely griddled vegetable salad appearing before my eyes.  However, then, I wasn't thinking quite so clearly and couldn't get past the large pack of asparagus.

In my head were images of asparagus soldiers dipped into soft boiled eggs, asparagus in Hollandaise sauce, griddled asparagus dripping in butter - so you can probably understand why I was having trouble getting past it.

Hubby suggested steamed asparagus with Hollandaise and a poached egg - which has lots of merit as an idea.  Right up until you realise that it's virtually impossible to poach anything other than an egg that you caught on the way to the ground, having just left its chicken.  They need to be that fresh.  The poor sorry little eggs that we get from the supermarket just can't cut the mustard in poaching water.  At three to four days old (at best) they will be drifting around the pan in strings of white mucus that are not only unappetising, but that are also very difficult and unrewarding to eat.

It was then that the light dawned about how come egg poaching pans were invented.  To be able to poach week-old eggs, of course.  It's not that the populace - to a man (or woman) - suddenly forgot how to poach, it's that egg production became centralised to "egg producing farms" instead of having backyard hens or local farms producing eggs for sale at local shops.  As such, the distance in time between the egg being laid and appearing in the shop, was longer and the quality of the egg deteriorated to a stage where it became unable to be poached successfully.

This is why so many people believe they "aren't able to poach an egg".  Not because their technique is lacking, it's because the eggs just aren't up to it.

Whenever I am the happy recipient of some of my friend-Laura's eggs from her backyard hens, the first thing I do is have one poached for breakfast.  The poaching works beautifully, every time.

So, getting back to the poaching pan, hubby's suggestion was to make use of same.  (He was doing the man-thing of "wifey wants it - make it happen").  I wasn't keen on that idea, not because using a poaching pan was admitting defeat on the egg poaching front (well, there is no "admit defeat", if your eggs just aren't up to it).  No, it was because of the washing up involved.  Now, we don't have a dishwasher - at which point, hubby will laugh hollowly and exclaim "yes we do, me!".  Which is entirely the reason why I'm not keen in making a lot of washing up over something as simple as breakfast.  Lord knows, he has enough washing up to do where lunch and dinner are concerned, without starting on breakfast too.  Using the poaching pan involves washing up four component parts - and then only if you've cooked the one egg!

It was then that I had my blinding idea.  The poaching cups are plastic, right?  Most plastics, these days, microwave.  I wonder if, if you microwaved an egg in a plastic poaching cup, whether it would work?

Photo c/o DailyMuscle.com
So, having hurriedly thrown on some clothes (well, it's best to have breakfast looking like you've arrived on the planet, rather than been dumped here from some alien environment, I find), I took one of the poaching cups from our egg poaching pan and - plus an egg and a smear of olive oil - microwaved it.

It didn't half hop around the microwave - but the end result, after 35 seconds, was an egg which had a hard yolk but - in places - a partly uncooked white.

So not exactly a success. I'm wondering whether reducing the power on the microwave and cooking it for a bit longer might improve the result.

I reckon I'll try that tomorrow!

The asparagus?  Oh that's forgotten - I think I might make a tart with it some time next week.  *chuckle*



  1. If you have a breville sandwich maker..smear some butter on it crack a egg or two ...and cook ..the best eggs ever...

    1. Hiya Jed! Oooh, now that's an idea! Trouble is, our Breville died from over-cheesing a very long time ago. :(

  2. I just found your site on foodblogs.com so I thought I would stop by and take a peek. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can't wait to see what your next post will be!

    1. Hello CJ and thank you for your kind words! I doubt you'll have long to wait for another blog post!

  3. this is a great post. I had wondered why eggs were so difficult to post. It would be great if you linked in to my Food on Friday: Eggs

    1. Sorry, meant to poach, of course

    2. I'll have a go at that tomorrow, Carole, when I've got more than one eye open (it's getting near my bedtime now!). lol :)

  4. I'm very fortunate to have ducks, and have used the eggs within an hour of being laid, the whites are so sticky and solid they are hard to get out of the shell, fresh eggs are a revelation to use. I fry mine in a little olive oil, I like the crispy bits!

    1. We tripped over some locally produced duck eggs at our greengrocer this morning, Marcus. I've every intention of poaching one - freeform, in a pan - tomorrow morning. I shall continue the hen's egg/microwave experiment thereafter! lol


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