- 12 pieces asparagus
- 4 slices Parma ham
- 8 slices smoked salmon
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 4 English muffins
- 8 eggs
For the hollandaise sauce:
- 3 egg yolks
- 200ml white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 sprigs tarragon
- 200ml melted and skimmed unsalted butter
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- To make the hollandaise sauce, boil the vinegar, peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half, strain and reserve. Boil a large pot of water, then reduce to a simmer. Using a large balloon whisk, beat together the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar reduction in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pot.
- Beat vigorously until the mixture forms a foam, but make sure it does not get too hot as it will scramble. To prevent this from happening, take the sauce on and off the heat while you whisk. The aim is to achieve golden, airy foam which forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted
- Whisk in a small ladle of the warmed melted butter, a little at a time. The mixture will thicken like a mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in the lemon juice and season with a little salt to taste. Add a little warm water if the sauce is too thick.
- Prep the asparagus by cutting ¾ along the length of each spear. Place into some salted boiling water to blanch for one minute and then plunge into plenty of cold running water to stop the cooking. When the asparagus has cooled, wrap three spears with one piece of Parma ham. This can be grilled to heat or placed in a preheated oven at 170ºC/gas mark 3 for three to four minutes until heated through.
- Toast your English muffins and keep warn under a cloth until ready to plate.
- Place a large of water on to boil and put in the vinegar. To poach the eggs, crack the egg into a cup and gently pour each egg into the simmering water. Don’t let the water boil too hard as it will break up the egg on you. Poach for three minutes until soft. Take the eggs out with a perforated spoon and allow any excess water to drain as this will make the muffins soggy.
- To plate, place two slices of the toasted English muffin on each serving plate, top with two slices of smoked salmon followed by two poached eggs and a spoonful of the hollandaise sauce over each egg, serve the warmed asparagus on the side.
When asparagus is out of season, use sautéed spinach instead.