I mentioned my Eggs Benedict obsession previously on this blog (here) and since then I've been experimenting a bit more in an attempt to find my favourite variation on the theme. I love asparagus and since its short season is finally upon us and I decided to marry the two and came up with Poached Egg with Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. I served this with a toasted English muffin and avocado which made it perfect for brunch, though I'd also serve it as is, without the muffin as a small starter portion.
Poached Egg with Avocado,Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
16 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 avocado, sliced
2 English muffins, toasted
For the Hollandaise Sauce
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
15ml lemon juice
pinch of salt
125g butter, melted and clarified (in a vessel you can easily pour from)
For the Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
50ml balsamic vinegar
grinding of pepper
1. Make the Hollandaise Sauce (using a handheld blender): In a measuring jug (only wide enough to fit your handheld blender) mix the egg yolk, water, lemon juice and salt. Place handheld blender in jug and slowly add the clarified butter very slowly, a little bit at a time, blending continuously. Your sauce should thicken by the time all your clarified butter has been added. Keep warm in a little bowl, held over warm water.
Hollandaise Sauce Tips:
Don't be tempted to add the butter too quickly, as your sauce will not emulsify.
Don't add the butter when it's too hot, rather wait until it has clarified i.e. the solids have settled to the bottom. Only use the clear portion on top to avoid a cloying sauce.
You can rescue a split sauce by placing 15ml of lemon juice into a clean jug. Slowly dribble in your split sauce, adding it even slower than you did before. The balance of flavours will be slightly on the tart side but you should end up with an emulsified sauce.
2. For the Balsamic Vinegar Reduction: Heat balsamic vinegar and pepper in a small saucepan at a high temperature until boiling. Reduce by half or until it resembles a syrup. This happens pretty quickly so don't turn your back from the pan!
3. Poach eggs and asparagus in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
4. Serve on the toasted English muffin, with avocado. Arrange the asparagus spears and poached egg and drizzle with hollandaise sauce and the balsamic vinegar reduction.