14/12/2011

Eggs Hemingway

Named after Ernest Hemingway: Eggs Hemingway - a simple variation on the classic Eggs Benedict, substituting the ham with salmon.

Organisation and preparation is crucial, but it is a dish that comes together really easily ... so long as you are in control!

Cooking everything up front and in stages, then re-heating it all at the last minute is the key to not having it all over the kitchen walls after some kind of breakdown leaving you with no starter and a lot of washing up.

Here's how ... and here's how to keep it paleo ...

First, switch the oven on just to warm the plates through. Pouring out any hot egg sauce onto a cold plate will only end in the sauce setting, going cold and leaving you with a poor experience. Not too hot, mind - you don't want to cook the plates, just warm them.

Second, take a griddle pan and put in on the hob, on high. This is to warm through the muffins - we're going to use portabello mushrooms.

Place the mushrooms on the griddle facing up with the tops down to the griddle. Warm through until the liquid fills the cups. Turn over and press down to boil out all the liquid, while retaining all the flavour.

Continue to cook, flipping periodically to keep the mushrooms warm and to continue removing the moisture. Brown water all over the plate against gorgeous yellow is not appetising!

Crack one egg per person, separating the yolks from the white and tossing the yolks into a mixing bowl, baines marie pan or some kind of thin bowl that can take being placed over the heat.

Reserve the whites for meringue, or just frying up with something like spinach and Tabasco for breakfast. Free recipe idea there ...

Squeeze a little lemon juice into the yolks and whisk hard to combine and get a little air into the mix. Set aside - we'll finish this later.

Next, we're going to poach the eggs.

Have a bowl of cold water alongside and a pan of hot water with a good splash of white distilled vinegar.

With the water just bubbling, crack an egg into a ramekin and lower the heat a touch. Very gently, just turn the water. Turn it, not spin, not stir, turn ... slowly. Pour out the egg carefully into the centre and stop the rotation by placing a spoon into the water. Your egg should be sitting on the bottom of the pan bulbous and serene.

Cook through for a few minutes until there is just some structure. We will re-heat the poached eggs later, so recover from the pan at this point and drop into the cold water to cease the cooking.

Repeat for as many eggs as people you are serving.

Needless to say, Woodland chickens are the best - left to peck and scratch at grubs, as they would naturally, produce some fantastic eggs with a sensational yolk.

Right! We're ready to finish the Hollandaise ...

Melt a little butter in a pan. How much? Enough. Sorry, that doesn't help ... go with an inch square and about half an inch thick per egg yolk.

Once melted and before it goes brown, pour gently into the egg mixture while whisking. The heat from the butter will pretty much cook the egg through, but we can take it just a little further by placing the bowl over the hot poaching water.

Take care that it does not touch and keep removing from the heat as you continually whisk. If it sets just a little, a tiny splash of cold water is all that is needed to let it back out to a nice liquid, cool it ever so slightly and stop it turning lumpy.

Once warm, set aside.

Put the poached eggs back in the hot water just to warm through.

Plate up with the mushroom in the middle of a small round plate, layered with salmon. You're supposed to use smoked salmon, but I had some leftover loin in the fridge, so that went on. When do I ever follow recipes?

Remove the poached eggs from the hot water and dry them off on a piece of kitchen towel, placing on the salmon, finally lathering the hot Hollandaise all over!

Bet you're glad you warmed the plates now, eh?

Serve, cut through to release the yolk, gobble down, thoroughly enjoying the superb combination of simply awesome flavours and one serious pack of egg.

Accompany with Champagne, I guess, Hemingway-style ...

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