Yes, it’s that time of year again. When the three of us, Dana, Andrea and I head down to Hawks Cay for fun in the sun… a girl-cation. We’ve been going for five or six years now and we have our weekend down pat. When we first started going to the Keys we’d load the car up with our Vera Bradley bags almost bursting at the seams, stacks of pillows would take up most of the back seat and the stuffed trunk of the car barely closed crammed tightly with all our Publix provisions. Well, I’m here to tell you we’ve got this thing down to a science. We’ve streamlined and pared down to the essentials. Cases of wine and champagne and handles of vodka and rum now take room in the trunk. In small bags we each pack two bathing suits, (nobody likes to put on a wet one), two sarongs, (they can also double as towels), one loungy outfit, jammies and undergarments. Our travel outfits include flip-flops and, in the unlikely event we go out, the travel outfit would also serve as our party wear. But we never, EVER go out. We’re always too ripped. The three of us are early risers so by 8:00 a.m. we’ve had too much coffee, our suits and sarongs are on and the champagne has started flowing. And that’s when Andrea’s breakfast magic begins. The three of us love eggs, any way, any time. Being proficient and well trained girly-girls we want and expect a clean and lovely breakfast and my girl Andrea delivers. Poached organic eggs with nutty, toasted 7-grain bread to sop up the runny, velvety yolks and heirloom tomato slices to cut through the richness. Heaven! When one is going to be drinking in the sun, poolside, from say 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. one must have sustenance and a solid, healthful start. Poached eggs are fast, easy and a ripping good way to round out your first meal of the day.
Here are a few tips to make the preparing of poached eggs seamless. Use the freshest eggs you can. The fresher the egg the more it will hold it’s shape in the poaching liquid. The addition of a teaspoon of white vinegar to the simmering water is optional but I feel it makes all the difference in the world. You won’t taste it at all but the egg will stay tighter and more close together thereby ending up with a much prettier poached egg. Without vinegar it’s easy to end up with a pan full of wispy, cloudy streamers of egg whites. Crack each egg into a small cup so that any bits of broken shell can easily be taken out. The simplest way to nab any pieces of broken shell is to scoop them out with the empty half shell in your hand. Good luck using your finger or a spoon…the errant shell will be repelled and you’ll be chasing that thing all morning. But a large piece of egg shell is almost like a magnet to grab shell shards. At a soft simmer, 3-4 minutes will yield an egg with a firm white but still runny yolk. This next step is also optional but most people don’t care for their poached eggs sloshing about the bottom of a bowl in warm water. So, after letting the water drain from the egg through a slotted spoon, hold a folded paper towel in your other hand, gently turn the egg onto the paper towel and from there slide it into your bowl, onto your toast or over your salad, (very French!). If you are preparing breakfast for several people make certain to add an extra 20-30 seconds cooking time per egg. Last of all, this is not the time to bypass salt. Poached eggs sing when well-seasoned. You don’t need much salt and pepper but the inclusion makes all the difference in the world.
- fresh eggs
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- freshly cracked pepper and ground salt to taste
Have ready your eggs. Fill a skillet with 1 1/2 inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the vinegar to the boiling water and drop the heat to a quiet simmer. Break an egg into a cup and gently slide it into the pan getting as close to the surface of water as you can. Do this with each egg and simmer eggs 3-5 minutes or until the whites are firm and the yolks appear pink. Using a slotted spoon remove eggs from skillet, drain and serve. Season well with salt and pepper.