The thing about poaching eggs is that it sounds more complicated than it actually is. When you do a quick Google search, you get links to various how-tos and videos that involve separate tiny dishes, taking the temperature of the water, whirpools — all things that make the process seem daunting. But all you really need is a small saucepan, a dash of white vinegar, an egg, and a slotted spoon.
1. Heat water in a saucepan. Either wait for tons and tons of tiny bubbles form in the water (with no rapid agitation at the surface) and lower the heat. Or, even simpler, bring your water to a boil and when that happens, turn the heat down to very low and wait a few seconds until the water stops bubbling rapidly.
2. Add a dash of white vinegar. There’s no need to measure this out, though if you really wanted to, about 2 teaspoons is fine. The vinegar helps bind the yolk together, keeping the egg from falling apart.
3. Break the egg into the water. Crack the egg on a hard, flat surface and crack it open just above the water, releasing it into the lightly simmering pan. It’s important to do this just over the water’s surface so it doesn’t splash back up at you.
4. Wait 3 minutes. Set your oven timer to three minutes and gently take out the egg with the slotted spoon. You’ll know the egg is done because it’ll turn opaque. Plus, three is the magic number; you’ll get a slightly thick, runny yolk.
It’s that simple. You don’t need to crack the egg into a small dish and then pour it into the water — it won’t result in a neater egg, and you’ll end up with an extra dish to wash. You don’t need to create a “whirlpool” — it won’t result in a neater egg, and you’ll end up stressing over when to pour in the egg ad the opportune moment.