You know what I look forward to most of all on the weekend? A nice lazy breakfast in the morning – the one that not only can be enjoyed leisurely, but also the one when you can make something a little special just because you have more time on your hands. It’s a time when we can really make something memorable with those eggs that are such a breakfast staple in our household. And what can be more special then poached eggs? Served with some sourdough, smoked salmon and some freshly made hollandaise sauce.
Before I go further into this, let me first talk about butter – an essential ingredient in hollandaise sauce. When a lot of us think of butter, the initial reaction is to limit its share in our diet. However, grass-fed organic (I cant stress how important this is) butter can actually be good for you as it is high in vitamins (A, K, D, E), minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Despite all the misinformation in the media about fats being a villan, it is sugar and refined carbohydrates that are a real problem. An intake of healthy fats is actually important not just for our digestion, but also to keep internal organs protected. None of the margarines, butter spreads and substitutes actually fall into the category of healthy fats (and are highly processed hydrogenated fats – trans fats – that are disastrous for our bodies). Hence it is very important to stick to real butter and go for grass-fed organic version, which will ensure its GMO and hormones free. So including butter into an occasional weekend treat, such as hollandaise sauce, is actually not as harmful as one might have thought. (if you want to read more about butter, there is no better source than the Bulletproof Exec website, http://www.bulletproofexec.com)
I have talked about importance of organic free-range eggs before (see my post about Crabmeat Scrambled Eggs) and that, while egg whites are a great source of lean protein, yolks actually contain a lot of the healthy fatty acids. Eggs are a staple in our household. And while I usually have them scrambled or sunny side up, poached eggs are a real treat (and one art I am still to master…).
When poaching eggs it is important to bring the water to just a light simmer, then add some vinegar, make a little well in the middle (but done stir the water too vigorously) into which you lower the egg. It is easiest to crack an egg into a coffee cup before gently lowering it into the middle of the well in the water. And the fresher your eggs, the less egg white you are going to’ lose’. We make poached eggs one at a time and you can always quickly warm them up in hot water for 30 seconds before serving.
Our home-made version of Hollandaise sauce is actually very simple to make. The key is to make it over a hot water bath rather than on direct heat. Bring some water to a gentle boil in a pot, put a bowl over the pot and put 1 egg yolk into it (makes more than enough sauce for 2 people) with a table spoon of water. Whisk continuously until the yolk changes colour and becomes pale and thickens. Then start adding butter, which should be cut into little cubes (about 50-75 grams), a few cubes at a time while continuing to whisk. Once all the butter has been added, squeeze a little lemon juice and add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and continue whisking for a few more seconds to incorporate everything. Taste and adjust the flavours, adding a little pink Himalayan salt if needed. At this point take the bowl of the heat and lower it into cold water in order to stop the cooking process.
While you are making the sauce and the eggs, toast some sourdough bread. Did you know that Sourdough is more digestible and nutritious than other breads? Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture in symbiotic combination with yeasts – it is one of the principal means of biological leavening in bread baking. The use of lacto cultures in the fermentation process not only makes the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body, but also slows down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream (lowering the bread’s glycaemic index (GI)). The sourdough starter also makes the gluten in flour more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance.
To assemble, put some smoked salmon on your toasted sourdough, top with poached eggs and drizzle with hollandaise sauce.
A feast for the eyes and the stomach that makes you feel like your weekend has started with a sunny breakfast – regardless if it’s rain or shine outside