- Cook the asparagus: Preheat the grill to high. Drop the asparagus tips into a small pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes or until just tender. Alternatively, steam for 2 minutes. Drain, then cover and keep warm. Fill a heavy-based frying pan to a depth of 2.5cm with boiling water and bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Prepare the sauce: Melt the butter in a small pan until hot. Break 1 egg into a food processor or blender. Add the lemon juice and seasoning. Process until just combined. While the motor is running, pour the hot butter through the hole in the feed tube or lid in a thin, steady stream to make a thick sauce. Briefly work in the crème fraîche. Cover the sauce to keep it warm until needed.
- Prepare the muffins: Toast the muffins under the grill. Put a split muffin on each serving plate and top each half with a slice of ham. Arrange the asparagus on one half of each muffin. Keep warm.
- Poach the eggs: Break one of the remaining eggs into a teacup. Add the vinegar to the frying pan of boiling water. Carefully pour the egg towards the side of the pan. Repeat with the other eggs, so that they are evenly spaced. With two spoons quickly gather the whites up around each yolk. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the white is set but the yolk is still soft.
- Complete the dish: Lift the eggs out of the water with a draining spoon and set on the ham-topped muffin halves. Spoon the warm sauce over the asparagus and eggs, and serve immediately.
*For ham, use 200g thinly sliced smoked salmon or cold cooked salmon, white crab meat or cooked, peeled prawns.
*For muffins, use 4 potatoes. Prick in several places with a sharp knife, then microwave on High for 8 minutes. Turn over and microwave for a further 1-2 minutes or until tender. Leave to ‘rest’ for 2 minutes. Halve and make a small indentation in the cooked potato flesh to hold the poached eggs.
…speed it up
Cook the asparagus tips in the microwave, in a suitable covered dish with 2 tbsp water, for 2 minutes on High.
Poach the eggs ahead of time and transfer them to a bowl of cold water. They can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 hours. When ready to serve transfer the eggs to a bowl of boiling water for 1 minute to reheat. Alternatively, hard-boil the eggs, shell them and keep in a bowl of cool water. When ready to serve cut the eggs in half and arrange on top of the ham.