Sunday Brunch – Eggs Royale With the Easiest Hollandaise Sauce

My wife (Hannah) and I recently found ourselves with a Sunday with absolutely no plans - bring on a day of yummy food! Deciding that having breakfast, lunch and dinner felt far too much like any other day we decided that brunch and tea were called for. First off was home-made brunch of Eggs Royale (much like eggs Benedict but with smoked salmon instead of the ham or bacon).

There are many disappointing things in the world, but few things ruin experiences as much as tucking into a poached egg only to find the yolk as solid as the plate you're eating it off of. So even if the other elements of the dish aren't perfect, as long as you have a nice oozy yolk all other faults can be forgiven.

This recipe is ideal if you're not very good at timing various elements of the dish to all come together at the same time as the eggs are part cooked and then just finished off before serving. Make sure that the eggs are fresh and have been kept out of the fridge (or at least allowed to come up to room temperature before cooking).

You can make the hollandaise sauce with a bowl, slowly whisking all the ingredients together, but using a blender still gives a thick and buttery sauce without any of the arm-ache to go with it (I'm not a fan of any recipe that uses the phrase "vigorously whisk").

Serve with tea or orange juice for the perfect start to a lazy Sunday!

(Serves 4)

Hollandaise Sauce:
4 Large Free Range Egg Yolks
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
210g Butter
Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper

Poached Eggs:
8 Large Free Range Eggs
4 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

To Serve:
8 Slices of Smoked Salmon
4 English Breakfast Muffins
Finely Chopped Chives
Lemon Juice
Freshly Ground Pepper

1. Heat a small saucepan of water up with the vinegar, not quite until boiling, but until there are small bubbles forming over the base of the pan, then, gently add one egg at a time to the water. If you have the water boiling too rapidly it will be much harder to keep the yolk and the white all together in a nice neat parcel.

Leave the eggs in the water for 2 minutes and then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and put them straight into a large bowl of iced water which will stop them from cooking any more. Repeat this for each of the eggs.

2. Next, on to the hollandaise. Put the egg yolks and a little bit of salt and pepper into the blender and blend for about 10 seconds. Then, in the smallest saucepan you have, heat the lemon juice and the vinegar up until it starts bubbling, leave it to boil for about 5 seconds and then take it off the heat. Then, with the blender running, slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg yolks until it is all incorporated.

3. Still with the hollandaise, using the same small saucepan heat up all of the butter until its melted over a very low heat, being careful not to burn it. Then once again, with the blender running, pour the melted butter into the rest of the ingredients in a steady stream but as slowly as you possibly can until all of the butter has been incorporated. You should now have a very smooth but thick and creamy sauce. Give the sauce a taste and season with salt and pepper or a little bit of lemon juice if it needs. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit if water to thin it.

Leave the hollandaise in the blender for a couple of minutes whilst you put together the rest of the dish

4. Now's the time to put everything together. Cut each muffin in half and put it in the toaster or under the grill until it is nice and warm and just going brown on the top. At the same time, put all the eggs back in the boiling water, once again, just before boiling point. The eggs should need 2 more minutes, but you can test each one by pressing down on the yolk, you should be able to feel that it's still nice and runny inside.

When the muffins are ready, put two on each plate and top with a slice of smoked salmon. Give each one a little squeeze of lemon juice before putting on the poached egg and a spoonful or two of hollandaise. Finally, top each one with a little grind of pepper and a sprinkling of the chives (if you don't have fresh chives, just leave them out rather than using dried chives).

5. Serve straight away

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