Asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise sauce – the perfect ménage à trois! Of course, you can often get hold of asparagus throughout the year, but it is always better when in season. Green works better than white for this dish, and rich, glossy, home-made hollandaise makes more difference than I can say.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Tie up the asparagus loosely with string, tips all facing the same way, and put the bundle in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6–10 minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus. The spears should be cooked through but still retain some bite.
Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice-cold water and set aside. Bring another small saucepan of water to the boil, add the vinegar and bring it down to a simmer. Break 2 of the eggs into the pan (or just do one at a time if you still don’t feel confident about poaching eggs). Swirl the water a little and keep simmering for 4 minutes or until the white surrounds the yolk in a nice oval shape (you can manipulate it, using a spoon). Alternatively, if you have an egg poacher, you can just use that.
When the asparagus is cooked, remove the bundle from the pan and plunge it into the ice-cold water. This helps to keep the chlorophyll (and therefore the goodness and colour) locked in.
Untie the asparagus and divide it onto four plates. Top each portion with a poached egg, then with a dollop of the hollandaise sauce, so it just runs down the side of the egg on to the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. I promise you, it’s wonderful!
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