David’s Semi-Poached Eggs: a better way to poach an egg: another 5MBM!


I learned many new things during our travels in New Zealand last February. I learned how to drive on the wrong side of the road (while sitting in the wrong side of the car) through the hairpin curves of the Coromandel (actually, it was great fun, once I relaxed a bit about how fast I had to go to keep from stopping traffic entirely, and it put me in mind of the slot car races that I participated in when I was a girl–the secret to success: hug the curves!). I learned that the domestic grapes grown in New Zealand are much sweeter than those grown at home, so if you make jelly you need to add less sugar; I learned that the farming of kiwifruits is really an amazing process; I learned that the Kiwis, in general, feel gentle pity and bewilderment over the political machinations of our country during this election cycle. *sigh*

(They are in good company.)

And I learned a better way to poach an egg.



Bryan has an open invitation to teach at a Bible college in Tauranga, New Zealand, and we’ve jumped at this opportunity twice in the last five years. If money grew on trees and if I was successful at growing a money tree (or two!) we’d go more often, believe me. I love it there, as any garden freak would. And any beach freak. And any exceptional ice cream freak. Any avocado freak.

So many freaks would love it there.

We stayed with David and Mary Nelson, Texas natives but long-time New Zealand residents now. David is a southern gentleman who asked me quietly every morning if I’d like him to fix me an egg for breakfast. My days and nights were so messed up for the first few days, that by the time David got up for the day, I would have been up for several hours (like, three!) and would had already eaten my breakfast. But finally one day I accepted his proffered breakfast (it is such a tempting thing, second breakfast, is it not?, especially if somebody else offers to make it for you?) and I was hooked. I saw immediately why David was so fond of these semi-poached eggs (served with a piece of buttered rye toast) that he made every single morning.

I asked David to show me how to make them. Happily for me, they are so easy to make that you can make them while you’re still half-asleep, though I would recommend at least a few sips of coffee first, since you’ll be using the stove.

I don’t know about you, but poaching eggs? It’s not difficult to do, but . . . it’s a fussy little exercise, in my opinion. You have to get the water simmering gently, and either have the proper poaching pan, or a custard cup and some butter spray–and then there’s the method with the piece of bread, where you pull the poached egg out of the boiling–er, simmering–water and scoop it up on that piece of bread, to drain the excess water . . . and if you drop the egg into the water when it’s boiling a little too quickly, it goes *splashyschloop* and you have yourself some very weak egg drop soup.

And all that only goes if you can remember where you put the pan and the six (or eight?) little cup inserts, not to mention the little tray thingy that they fit into. And the lid. Not a fan, gentle readers. Not a fan. (Maybe I would be, if my kitchen were well-organized with the poaching pan and all the various parts were in one particular place.)

Proper egg poaching takes a bit more attention than I have first thing in the morning. I get up early and am filled with Purpose and the Magnitude of a New Day, and don’t have much patience for piddling over a properly poached egg. Anybody with me here? I prefer a good breakfast that I can make in 5 minutes or less.

Back to the egg poaching pan . . . if you are successful at the poaching, you’ve got those cranky little poaching cups to wash–ugh! That is enough to put anybody off making eggs that way. Even if you do have excellent eggs from free-ranging, spoiled chooks, which we do.

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you darling chickens!

Just look at them. They are so cheeky. They know how good they’ve got it! 🙂

There is a better way to poach an egg. David’s way.

This semi-poaching business is brilliant. It’s fast, it’s super-easy, it only messes up one little pan (which, properly seasoned, takes only seconds to wash up afterwards) and it makes a really good poached egg. You don’t have to search for a zillion poaching pan parts. It’s not fussy.

Ready? Here’s how you do it:


All you need is this:

  • a very small skillet (cast iron is my choice, and this one I just bought at a garage sale this summer!!)
  • a lid to fit your small pan (if you don’t have one that fits, improvise: that’s what I do)
  • a spatula
  • a good egg!
  • a schmear of butter* (a tsp or so, depending on your butter preferences)
  • salt and pepper
  • a couple Tbs of hot water
  • a plate all ready for you, and a hot buttered piece of toast, if you like
The egg begins to fry . . . but then you add water and a lid . . .

The egg begins to fry . . . but then you add water and a lid . . .

Here’s what you do:

  1. First, heat up your pan to medium-high. This will just take a couple minutes.
  2. Add the schmear of butter and scoot it around so the pan is glistening and the butter is melted. (*A butter-spray will work, too.)
  3. Crack your egg into the hot pan.
  4. Cook for a minute or two, until the white starts to turn from clear to white.
  5. Add the hot water. It will bubble and froth and produce lovely steam. No problem. That’s what it’s supposed to do.
  6. Cover with your lid or improvised pan cover, again, just for a minute or two.
  7. When the egg is done to your own particular specifications (I like a runny yolk, for example) quickly add salt and pepper, scoop it up out of the pan and onto a plate. Add a piece of hot buttered toast and some fruit and you have a very quick and satisfying breakfast!


Awesome, huh?

Of course if you wanna fancy it up, saute a few fresh veg to go with it, wrangle your kiddo to make an orange julius-type drink, and have a leftover piece of pie as dessert. 🙂 tra-laa!

Sliced tomatoes are nice, too. :)

Sliced tomatoes are nice, too. 🙂

It’s up to you. (And pie for breakfast dessert? Absolutely!)

Undoubtedly, with a bit of practice, you can accomplish this breakfast in 5 minutes or less, earning it a place in my line-up of 5-Minute Breakfast Missions! Ta-daaa!

Questions? Observations? Quips? Pleasant egg-related banter? The comment line (below) is always open and you know how much I love to hear from you. Love it, love it, love it! 🙂


(*Ta-ta for now, Bella!)