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Mark Hix share his brunch recipe for Eggs De Beauvoir

Eggs de Beauvoir, is on the menu at The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis. <i>(Image: Mark Hix)</i>
Eggs de Beauvoir, is on the menu at The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis. (Image: Mark Hix)

With Jeremy King’s new restaurant ‘Arlington’ due to open on the site of Le Caprice in London’s Mayfair this February, I thought it appropriate to share an egg dish I introduced to its brunch menu some 30 or so years ago. Le Caprice was my first West End head chef’s job, working for masters Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. I called the dish Eggs Arlington, after our location on Arlington Street, and no doubt it will reappear on Arlington’s menu.

This brunch dish has been on my menus ever since, but as Eggs De Beauvoir as the back garden of my house in Beauvoir Road, Hackney is where I started smoking my own cold smoked salmon. Recently I’ve switched to cold smoked trout as the controversy of salmon farming is getting a tad out of hand, but I won’t go into that here. These large fish are reared in Dorset by Mark and Fiona Firth at Hooke Springs Trout Farm, and then smoked at their award-winning Bridport-based business, Chesil Smokery, where I collaborate on their Hix Smokin’ House range featuring Cornish anchovies and sardines, British herring, and salmon.

Eggs De Beauvoir recipe

Serves 4

For the Hollandaise sauce

1tbsp white wine vinegar

2tbsp water

1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

few sprigs tarragon

1 bay leaf

5 peppercorns

2 large egg yolks

250g unsalted butter

salt and freshly ground white pepper

To serve

120-150g cold smoked trout or salmon

2 English muffins

4 large eggs

Method

First, make the Hollandaise sauce. Put the vinegar, water, shallots, herbs and peppercorns in a saucepan and reduce the liquid to about a dessert spoonful. Strain it and set it aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and simmer it gently for 5-10 minutes until it looks like it is separating. Remove from the heat, leave it to cool a little, then pour off the pure butter where it has separated from the whey, discard the whey. This helps to keep the sauce thick.

Put the egg yolks into a small stainless-steel bowl with half of the vinegar reduction, whisk over a pan of gently simmering water until the mixture begins to thicken and becomes frothy.

Trickle the butter in, whisking continuously (an electric hand whisk helps). If the butter is added too quickly, the sauce will separate.

When you have added two-thirds of the butter, taste the sauce, add a little more (or all) of the reduction, season with salt and pepper. Then add the rest of the butter. The sauce should not be too vinegary, just enough to cut the oiliness of the butter. Season again with salt and pepper, if necessary, then lay some clingfilm directly on the sauce to stop it forming a skin. Leave in a warm (not hot) place until needed. It can be reheated briefly over a bowl of hot water and lightly whisked again but avoid this if possible.

To serve: split the muffins and lightly toast and soft-poach the eggs. Place a slice of smoked trout (or salmon) on the toasted muffin, top with a poached egg then coat with a couple of generous spoonfuls of the Hollandaise sauce and serve straightaway.



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