I warn you now – this one will have you running around the kitchen like a headless chicken. I wanted to do something quick but technically challenging and tasty. It turns out it was all those things, all at once. Two types of steamed veg, 3-6 mins. Poached Eggs, 3-4mins. Poached Haddock, 5-10mins. Hollandaise sauce 4-5mins. Dinner in 20mins I thought… wow was I wrong. Firstly preparing all this stuff is easy, there isn’t even much to prep. Poached Eggs and poached fish have to be done to an exact level of cooking. Otherwise you get overcooked/undercooked fish with an overdone egg yolk. The veg I picked also meant I couldn’t overcook them, purple asparagus turns green when exposed to heat and sprouting broccoli just ends up tough if overcooked. But I couldn’t do the purple asparagus raw because I didn’t think my wife would like it. Then you have the much dreaded hollandaise sauce, splits when its too cold and turns to scrambled eggs when overcooked. Put that altogether and what do you have? A bloody nightmare, that’s what you have!
I have a whole new appreciation for the brunch I had at Harvey Nichols! I criticised the hollandaise for having a touch too much vinegar, something which I avoided here. But what I failed to mention was how smooth and silky the sauce was, because getting a hollandaise to exactly that state, is a fairly tough task.
I think this would be less work with more burners or pans, then you could have it all going at once but that’s a lot of pans to keep an eye on. Still it was all worth it in the end, it made for a really nice plate of food!
Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 Smoked Haddock Fillets
100g Purple Asparagus
200g Purple Sprouting Broccoli
1 Lemon (juiced)
1. Using a saute pan, place the smoked haddock fillets flat in the pan, skin side up and cover with milk. Use enough milk so you can just barely see a bit of the fish.
2. Bring some water to a boil in a metal or bamboo steamer. Bring another medium saucepan of salted water to the boil as well.
3. Trim the Broccoli stems and remove any tough skin. Cut off the ends of the asparagus and them drizzle them with half of the lemon juice.
4. Heat the saute pan to a simmer and season with pepper. Cook the fish for 15mins or until you can easily peel off the skin.
5. Steam the Broccoli for 2-3mins and then start to steam the asparagus. Steam all the vegetables for a further 3-4mins and then remove from the heat.
6. In the saucepan of salted water, poach 4 eggs for a few minutes (you might need to do them in batches). Reduce the heat of the water to a simmer before putting in the eggs.
7. Make the hollandaise sauce.
8. Plate the fish with the eggs on top and cover in hollandaise sauce. Any spare sauce can be used on the asparagus.
Poaching eggs properly can be a bit of a challenge. I prefer to create a vortex and drop them into the center but that makes it difficult to do more than 1 egg at a time. How you do it, is down to personal preference. Just don’t overcook the egg and always do them last as they don’t taste as good cold.
A multi-level metal steamer helps no end with this recipe. You can put the Broccoli in first, then add the Asparagus in afterwards on the next level and when they are done you can make the hollandaise sauce on it at the end.