When you think of a meal like dinner, it’s commonly accepted that it would be made of certain requisite components. Most people would expect a portion of carbohydrates, another of greens or veggies, and then some protein.
Think: Some Italian sausages, spaghetti, and grilled veggies. Or steak, potatoes and spinach. Hot dogs on buns, and traditional all-American salad with iceberg lettuce and cucumbers. Roasted turkey, stuffing, and green beans. You get the idea.
This constructed notion of the perfect dinner plate is largely cultural, based on marketing, a whole lot of tradition, and a dash of biological necessity; balancing our diet is necessary for survival, and consuming protein is especially important.
Look, I’m not in a position to lecture people about their diets. Hell, I love food and beer. You know this. But what I can tell you is that meat isn’t always a necessary element of a meal. My wife and I have been planning, preparing and enjoying at least one or two non-meat based meals a week, and I can honestly admit that it’s been fun to discover new foods, and pretty damn tasty to boot.
One of my favorite (and one of the easiest) ways to add some protein back into a meatless meal is by simply throwing an egg on top. Fried eggs are always a good way to go, thought they can be a bit greasy, and they’re easy to overcook. If you’re having the classic “breakfast for dinner”, then scrambled eggs are a safe bet. But if you want to make it just a LITTLE bit fancy, or avoid the greasyness of the frying pan, then I would recommend a poached egg or two. All it takes is some water, and a few minutes to get delicious, perfectly cooked poached eggs with soft set whites and velvety yolks that make any meal that much better!
What you’ll need:
- A frying pan or skillet with a lid or cover that fits
- Eggs (I’d recommend doing no more than four at a time)
- White vinegar (optional)
- A slotted spoon, spatula or strainer
- Paper towels or something absorbent for letting the eggs dry off before serving
How to poach eggs:
- Fill your skillet with about an inch of water, add a tablespoon of white vinegar, and place it on the stove over high heat
- While the water comes to a boil, crack your eggs into a bowl
- Side note: to get even tighter whites, strain the eggs to remove the excess water
- When the water is boiling, gently pour the cracked eggs from the bowl into the water
- Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low (or turn it off completely)
- Set a timer for 4 minutes
- At 3.5 minutes the whites will still be a bit runny, and at 4.5 minutes the yolks will have begun to set: TIMING IS EVERYTHING
- When time is up, gently remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon (or other utensil) and place them on the paper towel for a moment to remove the excess water
- Serve them as soon as you can, and enjoy!