Thursday, 30 October 2014

Asparagus with Poached Eggs & Orange Hollandaise Sauce

It easy to subconsciously classify eggs as “breakfast food” (or perhaps brunch), but there’s no need to pigeon hole them in this way. While this makes a delicious (if slightly decadent) breakfast or brunch perfect to try this weekend, who could refuse a meal of poached eggs on top of steaming fresh asparagus, drizzled with Hollandaise sauce at any time of the day?

Making Hollandaise sauce gets some ‘bad press’ – made traditionally it can be a little bit tricky, but armed with some modern technology (a microwave and food processor), it is much simpler. That said, if you do need to heat the sauce to thicken it (or want to make it in advance and reheat), the trick is heat it gently in short bursts (Medium (50%) power for 15 seconds at a time) and whisk it inbetween.

For 3–4 servings:

Easy Orange Hollandaise

2 egg yolks (preferably room temperature)
1 tablespoon each lemon and orange juice
1–2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
100g butter, cubed
pinch salt (optional)

500–600g asparagus
1–2 tablespoons butter
3–4 eggs
3–4 slices thick toast

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, orange juice and rind in a food processor (fitted with a metal chopping blade) or blender.

Put the butter in a microwave safe container, cover to prevent spattering (a saucer works well if your container doesn’t have a lid) and microwave on high for 2–3 minutes until bubbling vigorously.

Turn the processor on and add the very hot butter in thin stream while the motor is running. Season with salt to taste.

The hot butter should thicken the mixture, but if you think the sauce is too runny, transfer back to the microwave container and heat on Medium (50%) power for 15 seconds then whisk briefly. Repeat if necessary. Warm the same way just before serving.

To cook the asparagus, bring 5–10mm water to a rapid boil in a large (lidded) frypan. Add the asparagus and cook covered for 3–4 minutes, shaking it occasionally. When tender, drain off the water, return it to the hot pan, add the butter and toss to coat evenly. Cover and set aside while you poach the eggs.

Heat about 5cm water in a large pan until it just boils. Add a tablespoon of white wine or cider vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir. Break the eggs gently into the water. Cook, just at boiling point or slightly below, for about 4–5 minutes or until the yolks are as set as you like.

Place a piece of toast on each plate, divide the asparagus between the plates, arranging it on top of the toast then, using a fish slice or perforated spoon, gently lift an egg onto each pile of asparagus. Pour a little of the warmed sauce over each, serve immediately and enjoy!

Photography: Lindsay Keats

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