Pour cold water into a 10-inch sauté pan to a depth of about 2 inches. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat so that the surface of the water barely shimmers. Add the vinegar.
Break four of the eggs into individual saucers, then gently slide them out one at a time into the water and, with a large spoon, lift the white over the yolk. Repeat the lifting once or twice to completely enclose each yolk. Poach until the whites are set and the yolks feel soft when touched gently, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and either serve immediately, or place in a shallow pan or large bowl of cold water.
Repeat with the remaining eggs, adding more water as needed to keep the depth at 2 inches, and bringing the water to a simmer before adding the eggs.
Reheat the eggs by slipping them into simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve hot with the crab cakes.
Yield: 12 eggs