By Barry Horne
4 English Muffins or Crumpets
4 Eggs (as fresh as possible)
10ml White Wine Vinegar
200g Smoked Salmon (or use Ham instead for Eggs Benedict)
2 Egg Yolks
80ml Vinegar (White Wine or Cider)
1/2 Shallot (finely diced)
4 Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
200g Unsalted Butter (clarified)
Lemon Juice to taste
Salt & Cayenne Pepper
To clarify the butter, place it in a saucepan on a medium heat. The butter will separate and the solids will go to the bottom and the clarified butter will be on top. Pour into a jug, leaving the fat solids at the bottom of the pan. Keep the clarified butter in a warm place.
Start your hollandaise reduction by placing the shallot, peppercorns, bay leaf, vinegar and water in a pot. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Strain and keep to one side.
Fill a medium pot with water and put on a high heat, add the white wine vinegar (this helps the white of the egg coagulate). When the water's at boiling point, turn the heat down a little, you don't need a vigorous boil when doing poached eggs. Give the water a gentle whisk to get it moving in a circular motion, this will give your eggs the proper tear drop shape.
Add the eggs two or three at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the egg (2 mins for medium and 3 for large).
Tip: once cooked, you can put them straight into iced water until it's time to serve. Just pop back into boiling water for 30 seconds.
To finish the hollandaise sauce, take a bowl over a Bain Marie and add the egg yolks and a teaspoon of the reduction, start whisking over a low heat to cook your eggs to 'sabayon' stage, which means it should have doubled in size and you can form a loose figure of 8. Take off the heat and slowly start to incorporate the clarified butter, when the sauce has become thick, season with salt, cayenne pepper and lemon juice.
Toast the muffins and place the salmon (or ham) first, then the eggs and cover with hollandaise.