The term "poached eggs" refers to eggs that have been submerged in hot water until the whites are solid but the yolks are runny, generally two and a half to three minutes. These eggs work well in recipes ranging from the traditional Eggs Benedict (half an English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce) to salads (try a frisee salad with chunks of pancetta, pomegranate seeds and a poached egg on top). Egg poaching pans do not technically poach eggs; instead, they hold the eggs above hot water and allow the eggs to cook in the steam.
Crack each egg you wish to poach into its own glass, bowl or other small container. This will allow you to ensure that you do not break the yolk or accidentally include a piece of shell. Fish out any broken shell pieces you see. If you break an egg's yolk, discard that egg and try again.
Remove the cups from the egg poaching pan and grease each one with a small amount of butter. If the pans are non-stick, you do not need to grease them. Add a couple of cm (1/2 inch to 1 inch) of water to the bottom of the main pan and a similar amount to each cup you will not be using. Turn on the heat under the pan to bring the water in the pan to a boil.
Pour the eggs from the cups, bowls or other small containers into the cups. You should poach only one egg in each cup. Return the cups to their slots in the egg poaching pan as soon as the water begins to boil. Place the lid on the pan.
Cook the eggs on the heat for two and a half to three minutes. Check the eggs by shaking the pan gently; if the whites jiggle, the eggs are not quite done. Return the lid and cook them until the whites are solid and do not jiggle but the yolks are still soft and runny.