Back when Adam was a boy (the early 1950s) the British were encouraged to ‘Go to work on an egg’. This was a great advertising campaign built around a fantastic piece of copywriting. Having Tony Hancock in front of the camera helped a bit too.
In my business life, I have had the dubious pleasure of writing copy for various Easter advertisements featuring ‘Eggstravaganza’ in the headline. This usually followed up with ‘eggciting offers’ ‘cracking deals’ and other eggscrutiating word plays. With Easter just around the corner, and more retail ads to write, I have been thinking a bit about eggs. When it comes down to it, I have strong opinions. Most of you reading this probably have never eaten a fresh, truly free-range, organic egg. As with most mass-produced food, eggs for the masses are a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. Pictures of barns, sunrises and roosters welcoming the dawn on the egg box can’t make the eggs inside any better or anything as good as eggs from truly free range hens.
My friend, the Wicklow Hunter keeps a dozen chickens to allow him feed his family the very best. He did me the favour of giving me a half-dozen of his production. This leads naturally to me showing you the Perfect Poached Egg Lunch.
For this you will need:
- Really free range eggs that you probably can’t get
- Bread baked by my wife. You probably can’t get that either
- Tasty sausages (I won’t be prescriptive)
- A mug of coffee or tipple of your choice
- You will not need vinegar. Chefs the world over take the lazy way out when poaching eggs. They add vinegar to the water to hold the white together. This is often necessary when using second-rate eggs. While it works, it also makes the eggs taste awful. Save the vinegar for your chips. Use good eggs instead.
I like to use my pastry cutters to keep the eggs together. If the eggs are really fresh, one does not need them (except for insurance).
I bring a pan of water to the boil and turn it down to a bare simmer. Pop in the pastry cutters, having oiled them first. Others prefer the ‘vortex method’. It sounds like a form of contraception to me. Crack in the eggs.
Once they are set to your taste, remove the pastry cutter and lift the egg out on a fish slice. Be careful, they are as slippery as a life assurance salesman in an old people’s home. Drain it on a slice of stale bread or kitchen paper.
Serve it quickly. These eggs are truly tasty on their own, delicious with fresh brown bread, and epic with tasty sausage.
If you can source truly free-range organic eggs, do so. They are eggstrordinary, if you will forgive one last crack…