Hollandaise is a emulsion sauce made predominantly from BUTTER. It's always going to be good. It's zinged up with a bit of lemon juice, and I've added a savoury kick of thyme, which I think works well with the potato. Incidentally, the potato is fried in more butter, ho ho ho. The caviar is optional but adds a salty element which compliments the creamy sauce and smoked salmon.
Anyway - give it a go. You'll eat well.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
4 free range chicken eggs
4 teaspoons of caviar - lump fish roe is absolutely fine and comes in at about 2 quid a jar!
Smoked salmon - 4 slices
salt and pepper
For the Hollandaise:
2 egg yolks
1.5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
juice of one lemon (get two just in case)
110g butter, melted
4 sprigs of thyme
For the Rosti:
3 large waxy potatoes
1. Preparation: First of all prep your eggs for poaching - this is a fool proof poaching method and will really help you juggle all the elements later. Take a large square of cling film and lay over a teacup. Poke the clingfilm a little bit inside the cup so there is a bit of a dip, where you can crack an egg into. Oil the clingfilm with some vegetable oil. Crack an egg into it. Gather the sides of the cling film up, squeezing out any air and twist to make a little egg parcel!! Do this for all your eggs and set to one side. This way you can cook all of your eggs at exactly the same time and you have no risk of them coming apart in the water/sitting around while you cook the rest!! Plus they are always, consistently the perfect shape.
2. Set a pan of water on to boil to poach the eggs in later.
3. For the Rosti: parboil the potatoes until tender, but not cooked all the way through. Cover in cold water and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, if possible. Don't worry too much if you can't do this, but it helps make for a firmer rosti that doesn't fall apart.
4. Coarsely grate the potato and mix in some salt and a good amount of black pepper. Heat some butter and oil in a frying pan. Form the potato into four circular patties and gently place into the sizzling butter. Leave undisturbed in the pan for around 4 minutes, to allow it to begin forming a nice golden crust, and then flip. Cook for around 10 minutes in total until crisp and golden. Season with a little salt and keep warm.
5. For the Hollandaise: take a small saucepan and put the vinegar and peppercorns in it. Reduce over heat for 30 seconds until it has reduced by half. Remove the peppercorns and set to one side.
6. Set up a bain marie - place a sauce pan with about 2 inches of water in it over medium heat and get a glass bowl that fits in the top of it without touching the metal bottom of the pan ready. In the bowl place the vinegar and two eggs, place over the saucepan and continuously whisk until the egg yolks thicken, and go pale and creamy. Make sure that the heat doesn't get too fierce and occasionally take it off the heat to whisk it. You want the eggs to reach a 'ribbon' stage so that you can see the trails that the whisk has left in it, after the whisk is removed. This will take about 2 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and add about 2 tablespoons, or a trickle, of the melted butter to it and whisk immediately to combine it in. Then put it back over the heat and continue to whisk. Repeat. Back on heat, whisk. Do this continuously, always always whisking until all of the butter is combined. Be very careful not to add the butter to fast or to get it too hot. If you do this the sauce will split - the butter and the yolks (oil and fat) will come apart from each other and it will look like scrambled egg - not what you want and totally irredeemable!!! Take your time with this stage - it's the tricky bit! Don't worry if it is very thick - when you add the lemon juice it thins it out. Add the thyme and season with the lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the acidity/ seasoning if required. Keep warm over a very lightly simmering bain marie, whisking frequently.
8. Poach your eggs in the boiling water and clingfilm for 3 minutes.
9. Assemble: put your rosti on the plate and layer a slice of smoked salmon on top. Add the poached egg on top, and then ladle over your thyme hollandaise. Add a teaspoon of caviar to either side and garnish with a sprig of thyme and a good grate of pepper. Serve immediately.