Unveiling Tomorrow's Home Essentials Today: Explore Modern Trends at ModernHomeTrends

Microwave-Poached Eggs Recipe

Why It Works

  • Warming the water before adding the egg helps the whites set right away.
  • Adding vinegar to the cooking water further helps the eggs set.
  • Salting the water slows down the rate at which it can heat in the microwave and helps cook the egg evenly.

There are many ways to cook eggs, and most are relatively simple. Fried, boiled, and scrambled eggs are staples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but there are a couple of egg methods that home cooks tend to shy away from because they seem too hard or fussy—the French omelette is one, but perhaps even more feared is the poached egg. Dropping an egg into a saucepan of simmering water and swirling it just in time to prevent the whites from spreading into a feathery mess is intimidating, and keeping the eggs from overcooking can be challenging.

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

I, too, once shied away from poaching eggs—but then I went to culinary school, and with plenty of practice, poaching eggs became second nature. They’ve since become a go-to dinner when there isn’t much in the fridge or I’m short on time. Served with toast, hollandaise sauce, and braised asparagus, it’s a fancy-feeling meal that I’d be happy to eat night after night.

Still, I was curious to know if there was a faster, better way to poach eggs—one that didn’t involve the stovetop. What if the key to the perfect poached egg was…the microwave? With the microwave, I could have poached eggs in about five minutes without even turning the stove on or dirtying a pot. A quick web search shows many people espousing the wonders of microwaved poached eggs, but I wasn’t convinced until I tried—and perfected—the method myself.

How Microwaves Work—and Why You Should Give Them a Chance

Before you shake your head and click away, let me explain. The microwave is one of the great conveniences of modern life: It allows us to reheat food quickly, is great for steaming vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and sweet potatoes (like in this onde-onde recipe), and is also a clever way of rendering fat. Microwaves were all the rage in the 1980s and 1990s, when Americans had what the Washington Post described as “appliance affection.” The appliance gradually fell out of favor, but seem to be having a bit of a comeback now, with plenty of chefs happily admitting to cooking in the microwave

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Microwaves work by generating electromagnetic waves; as Kenji wrote in his guide to microwave-steamed vegetables, these waves create an oscillating magnetic field inside the chamber, which causes water molecules to rapidly jostle up and down, generating friction that heats up your food. Like Kenji, I fully recognize that the appliance isn’t great for everything; I certainly wouldn’t expect it to brown my chicken thighs. But for popcorn, reheating leftovers, and poaching eggs? The microwave is excellent.

Tips for Making a Perfect Poached Egg in the Microwave

As someone who until a few weeks ago had never poached an egg in a microwave, I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin. A quick glance at other recipes wasn’t much help: none of them agreed on the correct amount of water to use, the best poaching vessel, or how long to microwave the egg. The only thing that everyone agreed on is how much variation there is between microwave models and how that affects the cook time (more on that below). 

My first few attempts at microwave poaching were unsuccessful: The egg whites were either rock solid or wispy and undercooked, the yolks were often more set than I wanted them to be, and I had a few eggs explode during cooking, scattering egg fragments throughout my microwave (so fun to clean up). It didn’t matter what the time and power levels were—none of the eggs were perfectly poached. But I didn’t give up. The other Serious Eats editors and I put our heads together, microwaved dozens of eggs, and finally landed on what I believe to be the perfect microwave poached egg—one that I’d be happy to eat atop my weekday toast or serve to friends.

Get to Know Your Microwave

Microwaves come in an assortment of wattages, which indicates how powerful the appliance is—or how much energy it’s able to convert into electromagnetic waves. Machines with a higher wattage are able to cook foods faster and more efficiently, and while this can be convenient, it can also make it easy to overcook foods. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to circumvent the problem of variability and it’s impossible to develop a recipe that suits each and every microwave, but after making poached eggs in the microwave a couple of times it’s easy to find the perfect cook time for your machine.

I tested this recipe with a 1,000 watt microwave, and the cook times I suggest reflect that. If you’re unsure of your microwave’s wattage or unfamiliar with this cooking method, I recommend cooking your egg in 30 second intervals so you can check on it intermittently to prevent undercooking or overcooking your egg.

Bring Your Water to a Boil Before Adding the Eggs

Starting with cold water resulted in eggs that set too hard, and after several attempts to fix this problem resulted in exploding eggs, I was on the brink of giving up. As always, Daniel had a genius suggestion. Why not heat the water until it reaches the temperature of a bare boil—about 209 to 212ºF or 98 to 100ºC—before adding the eggs? Starting with cold tap water meant that the water required more time at a higher power level in order to become hot enough to cook the egg, and we suspected this was why the egg whites were setting so firmly. 

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Indeed, starting with hot water solves this problem by more closely mimicking traditional stovetop poaching, and also ensures that everyone using my recipe starts cooking at the same temperature instead of whatever temperature their tap water is. Just be careful not to superheat your water, which happens when a liquid exceeds the temperature of boiling point—the result is scalding hot water that erupts, which can cause serious burns and injuries. To avoid superheating, heat your water in stages of no more than a minute at a time and, using an instant read thermometer, check the temperature as you go.

Add Salt

Adding a bit of salt to the poaching water has the obvious benefit of making the egg taste better, but we also learned that it can give the egg a better texture because it helps it to cook more gently. One day, Daniel excitedly messaged me on Slack to say “salting the water very possibly slows down the rate at which the water can heat in the microwave!” In classic, endearing science-nerd Daniel fashion, he sent me a paper from the Arabian Journal of Chemistry titled Microwave Chemistry: Effect of Ions on Dielectric Heating in Microwave Ovens that laid out how the presence of salt ions interfered with the heat generated by the microwave.

In short, scientists experimented with various concentrations of salt in a solution they then microwaved, and found that solutions with a higher salt concentration produced less heat when microwaved. What does this mean for microwave-poached eggs? Salting the water you poach the eggs in slows down the rate at which the water heats, cooking the egg evenly and reducing the risk of both superheating the water and overcooking the egg.

Add a Splash of Flavorful Vinegar

When poaching eggs on the stovetop, most cooks, including myself, will add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to the water. The acidity helps to set the egg by denaturing the egg white proteins, resulting in an egg that’s better at retaining its shape as it cooks. To help my microwave-poached egg set quickly, I began by incorporating a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar into my water. While distilled white vinegar is perfectly fine to use, there are many other vinegars you can use for a more pleasant flavor, such as rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Use the Freshest Eggs You Can Find

While older eggs are better for making hard-boiled eggs, you’ll want to use the freshest eggs you can find when poaching. That’s because fresh eggs have tighter whites and are better at holding their shape as they cook. This ability of fresh eggs to hold their shape is even more important with microwave poaching than with stovetop poaching. 

When you poach an egg on the stovetop, you can create a vortex to swirl the whites around the yolk; even if the egg isn’t the freshest, this helps form a more circular egg. But the microwave is less forgiving: old eggs will sink to the bottom, creating flat poached eggs that, in the words of Daniel, look like “fried eggs that were boiled.” When buying eggs, check the date on the carton or ask the vendor when they were gathered and use the newest eggs you can find. If you only have older eggs, not to worry—your poached eggs will still taste good, they just won’t be quite as photogenic.

Help the Eggs Hold Their Shape

If you really want a perfectly shaped egg, you can trim the egg whites with a paring knife or kitchen scissors after cooking or use a trick from Kenji’s poached egg recipe: Before cooking, place the egg in a fine-mesh strainer to allow any loose egg whites to drip through. I do recommend cracking your egg into a small bowl or ramekin before you plop it into the bowl of hot water, as it makes it much easier to gently slip the egg into the bowl (which will be hot from bringing the water to a boil). This extra step also allows  you to check for loose bits of shell and make sure the egg yolk is intact before poaching.

Use Medium-High Heat

After testing with various power levels, 80% proved to be ideal for poaching eggs and produced set whites and soft yolks. Anything lower or higher produced eggs that were way undercooked or way overcooked. But at 80% power, the egg was perfectly cooked and looked and tasted just like an egg poached on the stovetop.

When Does It Make Sense to Microwave Poach Eggs?

While this is a handy way to make eggs, it’s not the most efficient approach if you need to prepare eggs for several people since you can only microwave-poach one egg at a time. If you’re having friends over for brunch, I recommend doing it the old-fashioned way on the stovetop, where you can poach several eggs at once. But if you’re cooking for one or two and just want a nice poached egg that’s ready with a touch of a few buttons, then this might be the method for you. Once you’ve figured out what settings work best for your microwave, it’s the easiest way to make a flawless poached egg that’s worthy of your favorite brunch restaurant.

Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart