This dish is for the fairly experienced cook. You will need some skill, but since it tastes so good, you will make it more often and you will automatically become an expert!
First make the hollandaise sauce: in a large pot, bring a layer of water to a boil. Beat in the egg yolks with the water and vinegar into a metal bowl that fits into this large pot, but doesn’t touch the water (in other words a bain-marie). Using a whisk or hand blender begin to beat the eggs. Never stop whisking, as the eggs will set on the bottom of the bowl and you will have to start again. Lower the heat and allow the water to simmer.
After a few minutes the egg mixture will thicken considerably into a firm foam (after beating for 5 to 10 minutes). While whisking, add the butter pats, one by one. Only add the next pat of butter when the previous one has melted. It sounds like quite a fuss, but you will become quicker and it gets easier. A mayonnaise-like sauce should be the result. If it is too thick, you can dilute it by adding a few drops of hot water.
Remove the bowl from the pan, cover with lid or plate and proceed to poach the eggs.
Again bring a pan with water and a splash of vinegar to a boil. Break an egg in a small strainer and allow the excess egg white to run through. Gently shake the strainer. Keep the water near boiling point and stir a ‘well’ into it, using a spoon. Slide the egg into the water. Allow to poach for 2 to 3 minutes and remove from the pan using a slotted spoon.
Save on a warm plate covered with aluminium foil. Continue until all eggs are poached. Once you have some practice, you can try two eggs at the same time.
Halve the muffins and toast them in the toaster or oven. Cover them with some fried or raw ham or salmon (or spinach!). Place a poached egg on each muffin and generously cover with hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chives or parsley.
© 2011 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.