Inspiring vegetarian recipes
Try our vibrant veggie dishes, from meat-free lasagne to vegetable curry and vegetarian chilli
Put 2 tbsp of the vinegar, three egg yolks, the peppercorns, bay leaf and a small pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl set over a small pan of just-simmering water over a very low heat. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk for 30 seconds until light and foamy.
Drop a cube of the butter into the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Add the cubes one at a time, ensuring each has melted and combined with the sauce before adding the next. Once the hollandaise has started to thicken, you can add a few cubes at a time. This will take a little while but patience, and the continual whisking will create a foolproof hollandaise. It should take about 10 minutes to incorporate all the butter.
Once all the butter has been added and you’re left with a thick, glossy hollandaise, check the seasoning. Fish out the bay and peppercorns. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste, and a little salt and white pepper if needed.
Pour away most of the water from the pan underneath, leaving a few centimetres of hot water. Put the hollandaise bowl back over, off the heat. This will keep the hollandaise warm while you poach the eggs. Stir every now and then to prevent a skin forming. The hollandaise will sit for up to 30 minutes like this. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if your hollandaise becomes too thick while sitting.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and add the remaining vinegar. Prepare a bowl of cold water to dunk the cooked eggs into. Stir a whirlpool in the simmering water, and crack an egg into a mug. Lower the mug to the surface of the water and carefully slip the egg into the centre of the whirlpool. Cook for 2 minutes, until the white has set, and then remove with a slotted spoon into the cold water. Repeat with the remaining eggs – it’s better to cook them separately so you can achieve the perfect yolks each time. Once the eggs are all in the water bath they will sit here quite happily for 30 minutes until ready to serve. Keep the water simmering over a low heat.
To serve, split and lightly toast the muffins. Spread with a little butter, and divide between warmed plates. Layer over the ham.
Carefully lower the poached eggs back into the simmering water for 30 seconds, just to heat through, then lift out. Pat with kitchen paper, then add to the muffins on top of the ham. Give the hollandaise a final stir, then add a generous spoonful over the eggs. Garnish with chives or a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you like.