Hot Take: Poached Eggs Are Pathetic
I know that a lot of you disagree with me on most (read: all) of my hot takes but, even taking all of those terrible opinions into account, I reckon it’s my stance on poached eggs that tends to rile people up the most. Why? Because my stance on poached eggs is that they’re absolutely pathetic – a completely nothing food that’s incapable of exciting me in the slightest.
Aside from dropping it on the floor or chugging it in a glass like you're Rocky Balboa, poaching an egg is one of the worst things you can do to an egg. With its wispy whites and not-quite-warm-enough yolk, a poached egg is an absolute disservice to the simple and austere beauty of the egg. And I’m saying that as a certified Big Egg Guy™.
I eat eggs pretty much every day and firmly believe that they're one of the most wondrous foods in existence. Seriously. They’re a one-man-band capable of being turned into myriad marvellous dishes and possess a versatility that most other foodstuffs could only dream of. Eggs have got range, man. From its pivotal role in a silky chawanmushi to its scene-stealing turn in a saucy shakshuka, the egg is an ingredient that would make my "best foods" awards shortlist every year. That's probably why I find the concept of poaching an egg to be so upsetting. It’s a bit like boiling a choice cut of steak.
The crux of the matter is that there’s no situation where a poached egg is the best egg preparation for the job and, whenever you order one at a restaurant, it pretty much always arrives in the same predictable fashion. Which is as a sad, wet lump of anaemic-looking albumen – heaped on top of a triangle of toast – which slowly dampens that once-crisp bread until the whole thing is an indistinguishable soggy mess.
I’d take a runny fried egg, a jammy soft boiled egg, or a scrambled egg over a poached egg any day. Hell, I’d even opt for a hard-boiled egg if you put a gun to my head and asked me which I’d prefer to eat for breakfast. Which, let’s be honest, is quite an intense thing to do, mate.
Not only am I not a fan of wasting a meal out on a poached egg, but I haven’t even got to the fact that cooking them at home is a faff that’s rarely worth the effort. You’ll hear people tell you to add vinegar to your water; you’ll hear people use the word “vortex” an unreasonable number of times; and you’ll hear people telling you to wrap each individual egg in cling film like its sort of new-age saran wrap mummy. If any of those techniques work for you: that’s great. But I’ve tried them all and none have offered me any sort of consistency in my poached egg production. They're always shit.
I suppose you’re probably thinking that I’m a bit of a diva at this point. You're probably also thinking that the only reason that I really consider poached eggs to be pathetic is that when it boils down to it – pun very much intended – I’m simply not very good at cooking them. That means you're probably also thinking something along the lines of: "hey, maybe it's Lucas that's actually the pathetic one because he can’t do a task as simple as poaching an egg and he's had to write a whole column complaining about how bad they are to cover up for his own failings as a home cook". Well, guess what? You’d be absolutely 100% correct.