You can’t beat this classic egg breakfast with deluxe asparagus and hollandaise. Show off your skills at making hollandaise with Mary’s easy technique.
For the hollandaise sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 120g/4¼oz unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- a few ice cubes (optional)
For the poached egg and asparagus
For the hollandaise, put the egg yolks, butter, lemon juice and a tablespoon of cold water water into a heavy-based pan and place over the lowest possible heat. If you do not have a heavy-based pan, put the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl does not come into contact with the water. Using a balloon whisk, immediately begin whisking until the butter has melted and has combined with the egg yolks and liquid. Do not increase the heat or stop whisking at any point, and remove from the heat if the pan starts to get too hot.
Once the butter has completely melted, turn up the heat ever so slightly and keep whisking continuously until the sauce has thickened. If the sauce starts to split, it means the heat is too high: drop in an ice cube and whisk until it comes back together and thickens. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside.
For the poached egg and asparagus, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 2 minutes, or until just tender and still emerald green. Remove with a slotted spoon, rinse under cold running water and set aside.
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, until the water is barely simmering: there should be no bubbling or movement in the water at all. Crack the eggs into a cup and gently lower into the water, tipping out the eggs. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the whites have set and the yolks are cooked to your liking. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Toast the bread and slather with salted butter. Top with the asparagus and poached eggs. Whisk the hollandaise until smooth. If you want your sauce a little thinner, whisk in a teaspoon or two of boiling water. Dollop the hollandaise over the eggs, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Don’t forget that if the hollandaise starts to split, the heat is on too high. Drop in an ice cube and whisk until it comes back together and thickens.
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