Super eggs Benedict
With homemade hollandaise sauce
- 4 spring onions
- olive oil
- 400 g baby spinach
- 1 whole nutmeg , for grating
- 1 lemon
- 4 English muffins
- 8 small free-range eggs
- 100 g wafer-thin smoked ham
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 2 large free-range egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- white wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- Trim and finely chop the spring onions and put them into a large frying pan on a medium-low heat with a little drizzle of oil.
- Add the spinach with a grating of nutmeg and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook down until dark and delicious, and any excess water has cooked away, then add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste, and keep warm.
- To make the hollandaise, melt the butter in a small pan. Put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk with a tablespoon of lemon juice and the mustard.
- Whisking constantly, very slowly (otherwise it will split) pour the melted butter into the egg mixture, until well combined, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed. Whisk in a splash of vinegar and season to perfection.
- Turn the heat off and keep warm over the pan of water, stirring occasionally, and loosening with an extra splash of water if needed (or see tip).
- Warm the muffins in the oven.
- Meanwhile, simply press an oiled sheet of good-quality clingfilm into an oiled teacup, then crack 2 eggs into it to cheat a double-yolker. Bring the sides up, ease out any air, twist together and tie a tight knot to pouch the egg into a parcel – it’s very easy.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs (a drizzle of truffle oil, a shake of Tabasco or a few fresh soft herbs can be added to your parcels for extra flavour).
- Poach the parcels in a pan of gently simmering water for 8? minutes. To check they’re done, lift one out with a slotted spoon and gently squeeze – use your instincts.
- Halve the warm muffins, then divide over the spinach and waves of delicate ham. Unwrap the poached double-yolker eggs and balance on top, spoon a tablespoon of hollandaise over each one, then bust the eggs open and enjoy.
My top chef’s tip here is that the best way to keep hollandaise in a stable, warm condition is to put it into a preheated Thermos flask. Then, if you’ve got mates coming round, you can just knock out Benedicts in batches, pouring the sauce straight from the flask – it makes life a lot easier and prevents it from splitting.