Everyone has a different method for making poached eggs. Add vinegar to the water, create a whirlpool, follow Julia Child's lead and before you crack the eggs, prick the shells with a pin and boil them for 10 seconds... The list goes on, and Food & Wine Culinary Director Justin Chapple has his own roster of Mad Genius Tips to help you tackle this finicky dish. One of my favorites? Poaching a dozen eggs all at once by sliding the eggs into muffin tins to cook in the oven.
In his latest Mad Genius Tip, Chapple has another key piece of advice for poaching eggs by the batch: Make them up to 24 hours in advance, he says, by storing them in a big bowl of ice water. You can make as many eggs as will fit in your bowl, and they'll last up to a whole day in an ice bath, which means you can take care of brunch the night before.
If you're a fan of using vinegar to poach eggs, you might already shock them in cold water to rinse off the vinegar after they cook. But Chapple points out that you can put the whole bowl in the refrigerator and keep the eggs there for hours—a brilliant move for those non-morning people among us.
To poach a dozen eggs, Chapple pours about a quarter cup of distilled vinegar into a skillet of just-simmering water, before gently sliding the eggs in one at a time, using a small bowl to help him get as close to the water as possible. After the eggs cook for five to seven minutes, he removes them and places them directly into a big bowl of ice water. If the whites are firm and the yolks are runny, they're good to go.
"The best part is they reheat in just one minute," Chapple says. Set the eggs back into a skillet of simmering water (no vinegar needed) to bring them to temperature and voilà: you've got a batch of poached eggs in no time.