I love poached eggs, but have spent most of my life too nervous to make them at home. Every time I got up the courage to try some “guaranteed” method for poaching, I would be completely disappointed. I end up with over-cooked centers and wispy ghost-like tentacles of egg white. So when I was day dreaming about an open-faced sandwich with peppery arugula and a poached egg a few weeks ago, I decided it might be time to try this whole egg poaching thing again.
During my lunch break, I scoured the internet, hoping beyond hope that there might be some trick hidden 4 or 5 pages deep in the Google search results. Add vinegar to the water? Yep I do that. Swirl the water to create a vortex? Doesn’t work. Instead my wispy egg whites dance around the pot in a circle, mocking me. But then I found this video and thought, “What the heck, it can’t be any worse than my previous attempts.” And let me tell you, I have found THE answer to the perfect poached egg and its so easy. All you need is a small fine mesh strainer about 3 or 4 inches in size, a little oil, and a pot of simmering water with vinegar. I definitely recommend you watch the video, but to summarize: gently pour the egg into the strainer and swirl it around so that the loose egg whites fall through the strainer. This leaves the yolk and the still tight egg white in the strainer, which you then gently release into the simmering water. Then you just let the egg poach to perfection. I added one step to the process though; I spray the strainer lightly with cooking spray before adding the egg, which allows the egg to slide into the water with near perfection.
Armed with this potentially world shattering new technique, I went home after work excited for my potentially perfect open-faced poached egg sandwich. Much to my dismay we had no bread in the house, and for a moment my dreams were dashed, but then I remembered Ruth’s recipe for spaghetti and eggs and let that inspire me. Turns out that, with simple lemon vinaigrette to help balance the dish, a poached egg makes an amazing creamy sauce for a light pasta dish for one.
Arugula and Poached Egg Pasta
2-3 oz dry long pasta (such as fettuccine or spaghetti)
1½ cups arugula leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of half a large lemon
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
fresh cracked pepper
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1) For the pasta, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Break the long dry pasta in half and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve ½ a cup of the cooking liquid before draining.
2) While the pasta is cooking, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and pepper in a small Tupperware container and shake vigorously to combine. Use a large bowl to coat arugula leaves with dressing.
3) Add cooked pasta to bowl of arugula and toss together, coating the pasta in the dressing as well. If pasta seems a little dry, add reserved cooking water a tablespoon or so at a time. Transfer to the bowl you plan to eat from and sprinkle with cheese.
3) At the same time you start your pasta water, fill a wide mouth pot with about 2 cup of water (or enough to have at least 3 inches of water in the pot) and 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Place the pot over medium-low heat and bring to a very gentle simmer. Just before you drain your pasta, place your egg in the water to poach. Cook the egg for about 3-4 minutes over the lowest possible heat setting before removing with a slotted spoon and placing on top of the pasta and arugula.