Something quite exciting happened on Friday. I sat the final exam for my degree, the climax of three years of hard work, and in my case a lot of frustration.
I am ecstatic. I feel like Roger Daltrey.
However, now I need to find a job and make life plans – scary stuff. A hearty breakfast will help me on my way.
To be more precise, a hearty breakfast consisting of a toasted and buttered English muffin, salty strips of smoked salmon, perfectly poached eggs and a beautiful, buttery, zesty Hollandaise sauce. Watercress and spinach disguise the calories – green is good.
I usually describe all breakfast meals as the ‘breakfast of champions’, but let’s be real – anything with this many eggs involved is a sure winner of that title.
I really need to thank my uncle Jim from Canada here, as it was he who first introduced me to the marvels of eggs Benedict over a decade ago. Serious kudos, Jim.
For the Hollandaise sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 75g butter, just melted, and not brown
- Juice of a quarter of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the rest:
- 4 eggs
- White wine vinegar
- Around 200g smoked salmon
- Handful of watercress and spinach
- 2 English muffins, sliced in half
- Butter, of course
There is quite a lot going on in this recipe, so first of all make sure you have everything measured out and good to go.
Start by making the Hollandaise. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, (making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and add your egg yolk and vinegar, whisking constantly. After a few seconds slowly begin to pour in the melted butter in a steady stream. Don’t stop whisking. The sauce will begin to thicken, and once your happy with the consistency (I like mine to be quite thick) you can remove the bowl from the heat.
Add the lemon juice, seasoning and mustard and whisk to incorporate. If the lemon juice thins your sauce out too much, just pop the bowl back on top of the pan and give it a quick whisk. Keep the Hollandaise warm by storing it in a Thermos flask until it’s needed.
Next you’ll need to poach the eggs and toast the muffins, the latter of which hardly needs an explanation.
Bring a pan of water to a rapid simmer and pour in a glug of white wine vinegar. Crack one egg into a small bowl, and carefully slip it into the water. Continue with the rest of the eggs. Cook according to how you prefer your eggs (soft boiled: 2-3 minutes; medium soft: 4-5 minutes; medium: 6-7 minutes). Remove from the water using a slotted spoon or spatula and set aside on some kitchen paper.
To assemble, butter the toasted muffins, top with smoked salmon and greens, followed by a poached egg. Give your Hollandaise a quick stir and top the eggs with it. If you’re a pepper fiend like me, sprinkle with the good stuff.