There's an amusing site
on the science of egg poachery,
including an effective, but annoyingly fiddly cling film method that I tried out at one point -
You line a cup with cling film, break the egg into the cling film and then tie it up and poach as normal.
To be honest although the eggs were cooked well enough this way, they don't look great,
and it's hard to peel them away from the clingfilm without losing half the white.
I still prefer the old-fashioned spinning vortex
Nevertheless, it might be a good way to poach a large number of eggs in one pot at the same time.
Since then I've come across several chefs scorning the vortex and insisting that all you need is barely shimmering water, vinegar (or salt),
and a shallow cup to slip the broken egg from. Which if it worked would also allow you to poach a number of eggs at once.
also much to say on the subject:
If the eggs are at room temperature, the cooking time is 2 mins 30s to 2 mins 40s.
If the eggs are taken from a refrigerator, then a longer time of about 3mins is required.
Dipping the eggs into cold water for a few seconds immediately after taking them out of the boiling water prevents over-cooking.
I've now had a go at poaching several (well, four) eggs at the same time - I got a wide, (fairly) shallow pan of salted (2 tsps),
vinegared (2-4 tbsps), water to just below simmering: so the surface was barely moving.
Then I broke the eggs into small cups (tea cups or large ramekins), and gently poured them out into the water.
The eggs spread out a little at this point like incontinent jelly fish
(though it probably depends on the age of your eggs), so it helps if you can get them rolling a little as they go into the water
so the white wraps around the yolk. Either that, or use a spoon to fold the white around.
Or better still, use a ring to hold them in place, something like a cookie cutter or mason jar ring.
Once your eggs are in, turn the heat back up to bring the water back to a gentle simmer.
If you don't the yolks will likely harden before the white is properly cooked.
When the whites are just done, lift the eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain them or pat them dry before using.
You can briefly chill them in cool water to stop them cooking any more too, if you like.
Though this method did work, I can see that it still needs a bit of practice - my yolks weren't really covered with white
so they weren't as runny as I would have liked, and there was quite a lot of eggy snot left in the pot.
Possibly I should have folded the whites around the yolks with a spoon once they had begun to firm up.
Possibly I should have added more vinegar.
Though the vinegar does add some vinegar aroma, it definitely helps to coagulate the egg whites,
especially if your eggs are slightly more than 1 day old. You probably need to balance unwanted flavour against degree of coagulation.
I used malt vinegar, but if you want less flavour you could use white (distilled/spirit) vinegar, or rice vinegar if you prefer.
I've heard it suggested that you can take the eggs out just as soon as the white has firmed up and put them in iced water
so that you can save them to reheat later. Even a day later. Just drop them in simmering water for a few seconds.