I can't remember the last time I made poached eggs. Probably because I had such consistent bad luck with them that I quit trying years ago. But J. Kenji Alt, from the Food Lab at the website Serious Eats, says he's broken the code.
I can't wait to try it. The solution is ingeniously simple -- crack the egg into a fine strainer to drain off the thin, liquid part of the white (the part that always floats away and looks awful). Then use the strainer to lower the egg into the simmering water.
Alt says he learned the trick from British chef Heston Blumenthal, but that he's since also found it described in Harold McGee's "The Curious Cook."