Poaching, cooking food in liquid, is usually reserved for foods that are delicate and cook quickly, like fish, fruit and eggs. Poached foods are typically submerged in the cooking liquid, like stock, wine or simple syrup.
The trick with poaching is getting the poaching liquid at precisely the right temperature, which should be just under a simmer. A few tiny bubbles around the edge are ok, but poaching liquid should never be allowed to boil once the food’s been added. The rolling bubbles that come with a boil can break up fragile foods or make them stringy and dry.
How to Poach
To poach, combine your cooking liquid and any spices or seasonings in a pot. Depending on your recipe, you may add the food immediately or bring the liquid to barely a boil first. Once the food’s added, cover the pot and let it cook — without peeking — as directed in your recipe.
There are two types of poaching – Submersion Poaching and Shallow Poaching.
Submersion Poaching – food is completely submerged in water Shallow Poaching – liquid come halfway up the sides of the food
A flavorful poaching liquid will produce flavorful food. Common poaching liquids include stock or broth and wine. Don’t be afraid to add herbs, spices, or slices of lemon or ginger to enhance flavor. Fruit is typically poached in a simple syrup or a mix of wine and sugar.
Eggs should be poached in water with a splash of white vinegar. The vinegar helps the whites set faster. Get step-by-steps instructions on how to poach an egg here.