- For the Hollandaise sauce: Put the vinegar in a small pan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Heat the vinegar over a high heat until reduced to only 1 tablespoon left. Strain the peppercorns and the bay leaf from this reduction.
- Gently melt the butter in a small pan so that the butter solids fall to the bottom of the pan.
- Place 4 egg yolks and vinegar reduction in a food processor, and give it a whirl.
- With the food processor on a medium speed slowly pour in the butter until it becomes a thick foamy sauce. Do not add the butter solids from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, and season to taste with the salt.
- For the poached eggs: Half fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring to the boil. Add a good pinch of salt.
- Crack the remaining 4 eggs into individual jugs or bowls and add a drop of vinegar to each.
- Stir the boiling water vigorously with a whisk to create a whirlpool. Ease the egg gently into the centre of the whirlpool.
- Turn the heat down low, and cook for three minutes. Use a timer for this to avoid over-cooking.
- Drain the egg on kitchen paper, and drop gently into a bowl of iced water. Repeat with the other three eggs. When ready to serve simply warm the egg through in a pan of gently simmering water. (If you are serving the eggs immediately you do not need to put the eggs into iced water).
- To serve, place two muffin halves on each plate. Top each one with a slice of ham. Carefully remove the poached eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on top of the ham. Spoon the Hollandaise sauce on top of and around the muffins and serve immediately.
If the Hollandaise sauce is too thick, add a little hot water.
If the sauce gets too cold and splits, heat the butter before adding more. If it overheats and splits, add an ice cube.
Don’t waste the egg whites, make a batch of meringues; they will keep in an airtight container.
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