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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

April 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Sous vide too “Geek”-y? Poach an egg in your microwave

Sunday morning, as I sat reading newspapers, drinking coffee and hoping my kid would sleep an extra hour before getting up to examine his Easter basket (dream on), I saw this terrific article about our own Seattle Food Geek, Scott Heimendinger. This guy’s so fabulously geeky he’s happy to share his step-by-step process for building your own sous vide immersion cooker using $75 in scrap parts — though you could invest instead in the fancy happy-homemaker version.

Like me, the Seattle Food Geek thrills to the joy of eating a perfectly cooked egg. And his DIY machine slowly cooks food sealed in plastic and brought to perfection using the precisely controlled temperature of a hot-water bath. I, on the other hand, have exactly no interest in owning — or building — my own sous vide machine. But immersing an egg in water and cooking it for about the time it takes to toast a piece of bread, making for a real quick breakfast? That I’m buying. The good news? I’ve got all the machinery I need in my kitchen.

Got a minute? My old cheap microwave does the trick. And what a trick!

I’ve long known about nuking eggs to make the gentle custard served as a side dish at Korean restaurants. And I’ve seen the trick where you can make scrambled eggs using the steaming-wand of an espresso machine. But until I read the directions this month in Bon Appetit, I didn’t realize you could successfully poach an egg in your microwave. The minute I read that, I stood right up and went to work. Lo and behold: breakfast.

Egg. Bowl. Water. Saucer. That’s it.

Bon Appetit’s directions say: fill a 1-cup microwaveable bowl or teacup with 1/2 cup water. Gently crack an egg into the water, making sure it’s completely submerged. Cover with a saucer and microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to a plate.

They say “about a minute” for good reason. Everyone’s microwave works differently, and your idea of a perfectly poached egg might be different from mine. Feel free to experiment with all those leftover uncooked “Easter” eggs till you get the consistency you want. And do tell: Have you got any fun egg-cookery tricks up your sleeve?

Perfect (says me). This one took 50 seconds.

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