It is best to use eggs that are room temperature, so remove your eggs from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a large pan (you can use any vinegar, but I find rice vinegar works best) and add boiling water. Add a generous pinch of sea salt to the water.The vinegar and salt are the key part to this, as it is the vinegar that keeps the whites together and helps you get a perfect poached egg. You can't taste the vinegar when eating the eggs either. The salt makes the water more dense, therefore lifting the eggs off the bottom of the pan and prevents them from sticking.
Bring the water back to the boil.
Here's the clever bit! Using a spoon, gently place the whole uncracked eggs into the boiling water for 30 seconds each. This will partially boil the outer part of the egg white, making the egg more stable and less likely to spread out when cracked into the water.If the water isn't deep enough to cover the egg, rotate it over after 15 seconds and boil for another 15 seconds. IMPORTANT: Do not boil the eggs for more than 30 seconds.Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the pan and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
Use a sharp, heavy knife to break the egg shell and gently crack the egg into the simmering water. Hold the egg as close to the surface of the water as you can, without scalding your hands. Open the cracked egg just enough for the yolk to drop out, pulling the white with it.You can also add the egg to a cup or ramekin and gently pour it in, but I have more success with just cracking it in.
Cook the eggs on a gentle simmer for 3 minutes. If you want a hard yolk, cook it for 1 minute longer. Turn the heat off but leave the eggs in the water for an additional minute.
Use a flat, slotted spatula to remove the eggs from the pan and place them on kitchen paper. This will absorb any water from the egg, meaning you won't get soggy toast!
Next, hold the edge of the spatula next to the egg and using the edge of the kitchen paper, gently flip the egg onto the spatula so it is upside down. Use your finger to gently press the yolk to test if it is cooked to your liking. If not, return to the water for another 30-60 seconds.
Serve on top of smoked salmon, avocado or both on toast.