From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Cooking Eggs
A poached egg should be a neat-looking pouch of tender egg, evenly cooked all the way through, with a yolk that is barely runny. But boiling water can agitate the eggs until they are a ragged mess; we needed to figure out how to cook these eggs gently.
Our first thought was to examine the type of pan used. Most recipes require a deep saucepan, but we found that a shallow pan—a skillet—was far better: The water boiled faster, and the egg hit bottom sooner, and thus more gently, so that it could solidify before becoming stringy. A touch of vinegar lowered the boiling point of the water so that we were able to cook the eggs over more gentle heat. Our most important discovery turned out to be the importance of cooking eggs in still, not bubbling, water—as long as it was hot enough. With this in mind, we covered the skillet and turned off the heat after adding the eggs to the boiling water, allowing the residual heat to cook the eggs through. Without bubbling water to tear them apart, our poached eggs came out of the pan perfectly shaped—and cooked—with no feathery whites in sight.
Serves 2, two eggs each
Poached eggs take well to any number of accompaniments. Try serving them on a bed of grated mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or creamed spinach; in a pool of salsa; on a thick slice of tomato topped with a slice of Bermuda onion; on a potato pancake; or simply with plain buttered toast.