Sunday, 10 February 2013

Eggs Benedict without Benedict

Having learned about Harold McGee's easier Hollandaise I got excited and decided to give it a go. It was Sunday after all, and we wanted something a bit more special for breakfast so Eggs Benedict it was. Though after replacing the bread with bed of grilled asparagus and substituting ham for cold smoked salmon (strangely well available here) the final result had very little to do with Mr. Benedict. Apparently it was Eggs Atlantic, in some parts of the world also known as Eggs Hemingway.

We are no strangers to poaching eggs, though in our kitchen we use a hefty helping of salt instead of the vinegar as the Gentleman hates it. (Can't get enough of Branston though so go figure). Apparently that does the trick too, the trick being preventing the egg from spreading all over the pan. Since my neurotic nature craves symmetry (and, possibly, psychiatric consultation) I decided to test a little trick I picked up from one of the Masterchefs: line a cup with lightly oiled piece of cling film and break the egg into the bag. Then twist the bag firmly shut and drop it gently into the simmering water. Cook until it reaches the desired doneness (3 - 4 minutes with us).

The asparagus we used was the delicate variety, so I grilled them in the oven for about 5 minutes after brushing them with a little bit of oil. I used 12 per portion. If using the regular variety, I'd have 6 per portion. 

I used 1 big slice of cold smoked salmon per portion. 

I made half a dose of hollandaise, so if cooking for 4, double the amounts given below.

2 yolks
125 gr unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp water
lemon juice
salt to taste

Put the yolks, butter and water into a thick-bottomed frying pan. Heat gently, continuously whisking. As the butter melts, the sauce begins to thicken. Do not raise the heat: the edges of the pan should stay so cool you can touch them with your bare hands.

Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium and whisk strenuously until the sauce reduces. If steam starts coming out of the pan, remove from the heat but don't stop whisking.

Once the consistency is thick to your liking, add lemon juice and season. 

Place the grilled asparagus on a plate. Top with cold smoked salmon and the poached egg. Pour some Hollandaise on top and sprinkle with some chopped chives or spring onions. Serve and enjoy!

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