4 large free-range eggs
Get yourself a wide, casserole-type pan and fill it with boiling water from the kettle. Bring it to a light simmer over a medium heat, add a pinch of sea salt.
Crack one of your eggs into a cup and gently pour it into the water in one fluid movement. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. You'll see them begin to cook immediately – don't worry if the edges look a little scruffy. Depending on your pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes and a soft to firm one will need 4 minutes (it depends on the size of the eggs and whether you're using them straight from the fridge). To check whether they're done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle push with a teaspoon. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back and give the eggs a minute or two more in the water to firm up.
When they're ready, remove them to some kitchen paper to dry off and serve with buttered toast and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Jamie's top tips
Use the best-quality eggs you can afford. Remember: the better the quality, the better the flavour. You can tell whether an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a saucer. If the yolk stands up and the white isn't watery, it's as fresh as a daisy. The simplest way to store eggs is in the box you buy them in. Egg shells are porous and can absorb the odours of other foods so try to keep them away from anything strong-smelling, like fish.
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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council