This is a straightforward fine ding recipe for breakfast that is not only ludicrously delicious, actually quite healthy, but which also gives two techniques which once you learn them will stay with you for ever; 1) how to poach a perfectly round egg and 2) how to make a hollandaise without any fuss. The method for poaching happily round eggs is the single most often asked question I get on my instagram feed – it seems people are unnecessarily struggling. With this very simple process they invariably turn out satisfyingly round, runny, and decadent. You can also make the whole dish using one pot of water and one mixing bowl, which is satisfyingly energy efficient. Please give it a shot and send me your beautiful results!
- 5 eggs
- White distilled vinegar
- 2 Croissants
- A handful of fresh Kale
- Unsalted butter
1. First off lets talk eggs; They should be fresh and at room temperature. You can get away with taking them straight out of the fridge, but if they are not fresh you will never achieve a nice round poached egg. Without bamboozling anyone with too much science, the protein in the egg starts to degrade after a few days which leaves less substance to the white of the egg and which makes it harder to get it to set cleanly around the yolk when poaching. You can help the egg to set quicker by adding a generous slug of vinegar to the poaching water, or indeed just cracking the egg into a slotted spoon and letting the more liquid albumen drain away first – both techniques work well, but the real secret is simply freshness.
2. Make the hollandaise. Separate one egg-yolk from its white using whatever method you prefer. To me the clear superior way is just to crack it unto your palm and let the white literally slip through your fingers, leaving a perfectly clean yolk. Place the yolk into a glass or metal bowl and sit over a pot of just simmering water (you’ll use the same water later to poach the eggs and cook the kale, so don’t discard it). The water should not touch the bottom of your bowl with the egg in it; you want the steam to gently heat it. Stirr the egg yolk constantly with a spatula for a few seconds until it very slightly firms up then immediately throw in a few small cubes of cold butter. Keep stirring and let all the butter melt before adding more. If the yolk looks like its setting on the side of the bowl, take the bowl off the heat and keep stirring. Keep on slowly adding butter until a rich, unctuous sauce develops. Season and add a small squeeze of lemon. If the sauce splits (the oil comes out and it gets stringy), don’t panic, just calmly add a small splash of cold water and keep stirring. It will quickly re-coagulate back into a creamy sauce, albeit it will look slightly paler after the water – the taste will be identical. Keep warm near the stove.
3. In the same pot of water now add a splash of vinegar and reduce the temperature until its just barely simmering. Crack the eggs one by one first into a small cup or ramekin, then slowly into the water.. one by one. They should sink to the bottom and immediately start forming into little white balls around the yolk. You can help them along by gently rolling them in the water. You can now turn the heat up to a low boil; They need less then 5 mins. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. There is nothing worse than eggs straight out the water onto the plate – they leave the whole dish soggy, so do remember to drain well.
4. Throw the chopped kale into the same water (don’t worry about the vinegar, you’ll barely notice it) and cook for less than 2 mins. You want to preserve all the nutrients and leave some crunch, the acidity of the water will actually help preserve the greenness of the vegetable.
5. Cut a warmed croissant into little rounds and assemble on the plate, the eggs sitting proudly upon a croissant round, and kale scattered to each side. Spoon the warm, delicious sauce all over the eggs and around the plate. I dare you to try to eat this slowly.