Eggs are one food that is particularly comforting and nourishing to me. For years I’ve eaten 2 each morning for breakfast. Yes, that is a dozen eggs a week and my cholesterol is no worse for it. An egg is a completely whole food, in and unto itself. Eggs are also an excellent, sticks-with-you-for-awhile source of protein, but they are also one of my primary comfort foods. My grandmother made poached eggs served over crushed crackers for my mom and her sisters. She used the crushed saltines to make the breakfast go further in her big household, but my mother loved the dish and fixed it for me growing up. Since then, I still sometimes let (truth: beg) my mom to make it for me and she will kindly break out the saltines (now the whole grain variety).
My mom makes the perfect poached eggs! It is possible that I am biased, but, so what? I’m a bit of a perfectionist about them now because of it and am afraid to order them at a restaurant because they’ve always turned under or overcooked. Here is my mother’s recipe for poached eggs. The secret is the timing and the vinegar, which makes the whites firm and keeps them from spreading all over the pan.
Bring to a boil 2 inches lightly salted water in a small skillet or sauce pan. Add a splash of vinegar. Once boiling, carefully crack each egg and drop it into the water, setting them apart in the pan so they don’t touch. Set the timer for 2 minutes 20 seconds. If water is going to boil over, slightly turn down the heat. When buzzer goes off, carefully remove each with a slotted spoon. Option: service with a small amount of butter and 6 saltines.