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Culinary definition of poach To cook food in gently simmering liquid.

poached eggs on toast 325x225Poaching eggs in simmering water is simple once you know how.  First, make sure that the water is gently simmering, not at a rolling boil - otherwise the eggs will break apart or at the very least, look horribly shaggy and scruffy. Second, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the water to help the egg hold its shape. 

A smallish saucepan filled with three or four inches of lightly salted water should do.  Unless you are proficient at poaching, its helps to lower each individual egg slowly into the water, using a small ramekin, letting a bit of hot water into the cup as you do so.

Poaching seafood in olive oil heated to temperatures of 150-200F has become quite popular and delivers amazing results.  It can be expensive however as a litre or more of oil is generally required.  Poaching oil can be double-filtered, bottled separately, refrigerated and re-used a few times but it will absorb some odour so keep that in mind.

✭  Better Benny.  Use your Eggs Benedict poaching liquid to first blanch some asparagus or other vegetable(s) (then plunge in ice water to arrest cooking and enhance colour).  Quickly re-heat asparagus in a skillet, in a small amount of butter or bacon drippings, before serving alongside the Benny.   If you haven't the time or inclination to make Hollandaise sauce, try melting a few tablespoons of plain or dill cream cheese to spoon overtop (microwave works well).  And remember - a pinch of curry (+salt) added to plain cream cheese, plain yogurt or mayonnaise - works wonders when you are in a hurry!

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