Eggs Benedict With Smoked Salmon

This isn’t something you’re going to throw together on a week-day morning but is the perfect Sunday morning breakfast when you have a bit more time.
For the Hollandaise you’ll need the following:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 lemon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper
  • 125g butter.

Add the vinegar and the water to a saucepan and heat until the liquid begins to bubble – allow to reduce slightly. This will take any harshness out of the vinegar. You should reduce until you have about half a tablespoon of the reduction left.
Now you need to clarify the butter – add the block of butter to a clean pan and heat gently (you can cube the butter before you put it into the pan). The butter will melt to a liquid – continue to cook until it bubbles. Remove from the heat allow to stand for 30 seconds. The butter should have separated into liquid and solids at the bottom. There may be some solids floating on top of the liquid – remove these with a spoon and carefully pour the liquid into a container being careful not to allow any of the solids from the bottom of the pan to pour in.
You should be left with a clear, clarified butter

Now to make the sauce – half fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Put your egg yolks into a bowl big enough to cover the saucepan. Place the bowl over the boiling water.
Add the vinegar/water reduction to the eggs and begin to whisk. The eggs should take on a smooth but airy consistency. Whisk over the heat for about 1 minute. Now gradually add the clarified butter – ideally the butter will have cooled down slightly when you add it to the egg. Whisk in the butter as you add it. The sauce should become thicker as you whisk and add more butter.
Keep an eye on the consistency of the sauce – I don’t really like hollandaise to be too thick but it needs to be able to hold itself when you pour it over the egg.
When you’re happy with the sauce, add a good pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice of one lemon.

Poaching the eggs

Poach the eggs in advance – crack the eggs into a ramekin each. Heat some water in a pan to simmering point. If you’re cooking more than 1 egg don’t swirl the water around – instead, add a tablespoon of malt vinegar. (It needs to be a decent splash of vinegar to really help the eggs set). Pour each egg from its ramekin into the water. Allow to cook for 2 – 3 minutes making sure the water doesn’t boil.
At this point you can take the eggs out and keep them in iced water until you’ve finished making the hollandaise and reheat them in boiling water or you can serve them straight away if your sauce is ready.
It’s important to serve the sauce as soon as it’s ready.
Place your smoked salmon (allowed to warm up to room temperature) onto a toasted muffin. The egg goes on top of the salmon and the hollandaise poured over the egg. Some chopped chives to finish it off.
If you can, use a slightly thicker cut smoked salmon as it will hold up better when you place a warm egg on top.
Eat it all. Straight away.