Eggs PSB

Purple Sprouting and Hollandaise is a classic and very delicious combination. There is a variation “Maltaise” – Hollandaise with blood orange which is famously paired with asparagus or purple sprouting broccoli but personally I prefer it without the orange.

Hollandaise is typically used in the classic “Eggs Benedict”, which got me thinking of trying to add the purple sprouting broccoli to an English muffin, as they are known in America, and create a new brunch dish. I replaced the ham with crispy streaky bacon (another great combo with purple sprouting broccoli) but apart from that and the purple sprouting broccoli the rest is the typical poached egg, and napped in Hollandaise. But what to call it.  The classic French names usually have little clues in them of origin or ingredient. Hollandaise sauce must have its routes in Holland, Maltaise sauce, as oranges come from Malta, Eggs Florentine as Florence was famous for spinach and Eggs Benedict originate from a famous wall street broker with a hang-over at The Waldorf Hotel in New York. This is the best I could do.

Eggs PSB

Serves 2

For the Hollandaise sauce

1 small onion or shallot, very finely chopped

50mls white wine vinegar plus a splash for poaching the eggs

125g good quality butter, cut into cubes

2 free-range egg yolks

Sea salt

Squeeze of lemon

 

2 English muffins, split in half horizontally, toasted

Large handful of purple sprouting broccoli

6 rashers of good quality streaky bacon

4 very fresh free-range eggs

 

Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil.

Make the hollandaise: In a small pan, heat the onions, vinegar and a little water. Boil until the liquid has reduced to around a tablespoon (keep an eye on it, as the liquid will suddenly reduce very quickly). Take off the heat immediately and strain through a fine sieve. Reserve the liquid, discard the onion and leave to cool. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl (one that fits snugly over the pan of barely simmering water) and add the vinegar reduction.

Whisk the yolks vigorously until pale in colour and voluminous (this will take a good few minutes, so be patient and keep the heat really low to avoid over-cooking and scrambling the eggs).

Still whisking constantly, start adding the butter, drip by drip initially. Keep adding and whisking, so the mixture emulsifies and looks glossy; this will take about 5 minutes. Don’t add the butter too quickly, or the mixture will split. If it does split you can rescue it by putting another egg yolk in a clean bowl and gradually whisking it into the split mixture. If it has scrambled, unfortunately you won’t be able to save it.

Once the butter is all incorporated, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and add salt to taste. The hollandaise can be kept warm but not hot.

Trim the purple sprouting broccoli into nice tender stems. If the stems are too thick cut them in half lengthways.  Add to the pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add a dash of vinegar to the same water and watch it turn pink and at a gentle rolling boil, carefully crack in your eggs. Cook until your liking and remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.

Meanwhile fry your bacon until crisp on both sides in a frying pan with a little veg oil. Drain on kitchen paper and cut in half so that they fit on the muffins.

Spilt the muffins and toast. Arrange the muffins halves on a plate, top with crispy slices on bacon, plenty of purple sprouting broccoli and  then place a poached egg on top of each and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the top. Serve straight away.

Spicy Chorizo, Leeks and Tomato Baked with Eggs

This week is all in praise of leeks. It is still a month until St David’s day and I don’t know what got me thinking about leeks, but once I did, I couldn’t stop. The first recipe is a sort of variation on the North African Dish of Shakshuka. Here I replace the peppers and onions with leeks and chorizo. Serve it with plenty of sourdough bread to soak up the sauce. A great brunch!

Spicy Chorizo, Leeks and Tomato Baked with Eggs

Serves 2

120g Good quality Chorizo, finely chopped

2 leeks, cut in half and shredded, washed and drained

1 can tinned plum tomatoes

Pinch chilli flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

4 eggs

A little extra virgin olive oil

A small bunch of coriander

In a heavy bottomed pan (which can go in the oven) add a little oil and then fry the chorizo until it releases its own fat. Add the leeks, season, cover and cook gently for about 15-20 minutes, checking regularly. Remove the lid and continue to cook until they are beginning to caramelise. Add the tin of tomatoes and half a tin of water.  break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add the chilli and paprika and cook down until the sauce has thickened. .  Check seasoning and adjust to taste. Preheat oven to 180C. Make little wells in the sauce and crack a egg into each hole  Place the pan in the oven and cook the eggs to your liking. I like mine yolks just runny, whites fully set. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with bread.

Egg Florentine ( with Chard)

I often google recipes when I am looking for inspiration or information, usually just a starting point which I can develop on. Although there are a hell of a lot of bad recipes out there, I can usually rely on BBC food or Jamie Oliver or All Recipes UK to come up with a reasonable example of what I am looking for.  However, I was really shocked that nothing even half decent comes up when you google Hollandaise. All sorts of shocking suggestions – un-reduced vinegar, all sorts of weird flavourings, tarragon in a Gordon Ramsey recipe – that’s Béarnaise mate! and even mustard in a Jamie Oliver recipe – got his hollandaise mixed up with his mayonnaise. Scary!

This recipe is not entirely authentic however, apart from the hollandaise, as it replaces the spinach “Florentine” with chard. I am not sure why the food of Florence should necessarily be associated with spinach but apparently it has something to do with Catherine di Medici. Anyway, I was rather pleased with my variation, it makes a great brunch and if you are feeling particularly adventurous you could add an anchovy or two to the chard when it is braising.

Egg Florentine (With Chard) 3

Egg Florentine ( with Chard)

Serves 2

For the hollandaise sauce

½ an onion, very finely chopped

50mls white wine vinegar plus a splash for poaching the eggs

125g good quality butter, cut into cubes

2 free-range egg yolks

Sea salt

Squeeze of lemon

For the eggs Florentine

2 English muffins, split in half horizontally

2 large handfuls chard

4 very fresh free-range eggs

Put two saucepans with water on to boil.  Remove the chard stalks from the leaves and add the leaves to one pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a dry tea towel to cool. Turn the heat of the saucepan right down low. When the chard is cool use the tea towel to squeeze out as much water as possible. Cut the garlic into very thin slithers. Heat a little more olive oil in another saucepan and fry the garlic until just turning light golden brown. Add the Chard and season with salt and mix well. Fry briefly and remove from the heat.

For the Hollandaise sauce, melt the butter slowly over a gentle heat or in a microwave. Once melted, remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, very finely chop half an onion, add the vinegar and simmer until almost dry. You want one teaspoon of liquid to remain only. Sieve the onions and add the teaspoon on reduced vinegar to the egg yolks into a bowl. Place this over the gently simmering water from the chard and beat until just cooked. Gradually add the butter, very slowly. Add the clarified butter on the top first and only add the whey at the end if you need to thin the sauce. Add salt to taste and a little lemon juice. Turn the light off under the chard water and leave the bowl on top to keep warm.

Split the muffins and toast. Add a dash of white wine vinegar to the other pan and at a gentle rolling boil, carefully crack in your eggs. Cook until your liking and remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.

Arrange the muffins halves on a plate, top with plenty of chard, then place a poached egg on top of each and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the top. Serve straight away.

Eggs Florentine (with Chard) 4

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