Eggs. Eggs. Eggs. I love eggs. E. G. G. S. I can have them for all three meals and still want more eggs. This recipe is a keeper. We’ll be making this every weekend now. And won’t get bored because eggs. Eggs.
To attain perfect (runny, awesome, oh-my-god-it’s-heaven) poached eggs, practice is essential. N did it many times before she could roll out lovely soft poached eggs at one go. She’s glorified as Egg Queen in the family now. Maybe I should give her eggs for Christmas.
Adapted from The Delaunay
For the hollandaise
4 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
125g butter, cubed
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon, to taste
For the eggs
4 very fresh eggs
2 teaspoon distilled malt vinegar
4 muffins, buttered and toasted
8 long slices of salmon
chopped chives to garnish
pepper to taste
To make the sauce, put the vinegar, shallots and peppercorns in a pan and bring to a boil until reduced by 80%. We left the peppercorns in for some texture, but you may strain them out if you like. Set aside.
Clarify the butter by melting it in a heavy pan over a gentle heat. Skim off any scum until only clear liquid remains. Remove from the heat and cool until tepid, then tip into a bowl, leaving behind any solids.
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add egg yolks and reduced vinegar. Beat over the heat until a smooth, thick and pale mass forms. Remove from the heat and whisk, adding the clarified butter to make a thick, creamy sauce. If it separates, beat a fresh yolk with a spoonful of water in a bowl, then gradually whisk the separated sauce into that. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Keep warm.
Bring a large shallow pan of water to a gentle simmer and add vinegar. Crack the eggs one at a time into heatproof teacups, lower into the water and slip them out on to the simmering surface. Do not do more than four at once as they reduce the temperature too much. Cover with a lid and leave undisturbed for three minutes. Ensure the water is still moving to make sure eggs do not sink and are cooked evenly.
If the eggs are cooked, the whites will be completely opaque and the yolks just visible through a veil of white. If not, put the lid back on for a further 20 seconds. Lift the eggs out with a perforated spoon and dip in warm water to lessen any flavour of vinegar.
While the eggs are poaching, remove and discard a thin slice from the top of each muffin, and toast and butter the rest. Arrange the salmon on top in a ring around the edge of the muffin, leaving a hollow in the middle. Drain the eggs well and season with salt. Place in the hollows and ladle over the hollandaise. Garnish with chives and pepper.
Cook more eggs because it’s never enough.
For the hollandaise sauce, we used almost a whole lemon (somewhere in between three-quarters to a full). If you prefer a tangy flavour, go ahead to use a full lemon.
If your eggs are not super fresh, pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
You can poach the eggs a couple of days in advance, placing them straight in a bowl of iced water, then reheating in simmering water for two minutes before serving.