The secrets to poaching an egg are adding a small amount of vinegar to gently boiling water and carefully spinning the egg as it cooks. Serve this breakfast tradition on a bed of tender asparagus and a smoky hash of sautéed sweet potatoes.
Makes 4 servings
- 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into thirds, softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Dash cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup water
- 12 spears asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- Additional smoked paprika, for garnish
For hollandaise sauce, in a stainless steel bowl whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler); the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Add one-third of the butter. Whisk and cook until the butter melts and the sauce starts to thicken. Add remaining butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly until melted. Cook 2 minutes more to thicken sauce. Remove from heat; whisk in salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to use. If sauce thickens or curdles, whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water.
For hash, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, paprika, chili powder and black pepper. Stir in sweet potatoes and ¼-cup water. Bring mixture to simmering; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring once.
Place asparagus in an 8-inch-square baking dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, fill a medium skillet half full with water; add vinegar. Bring to a gentle boil. Break eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Holding lip close to water level, slide each egg into simmering water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still soft. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from skillet, allowing water to drain. Place eggs in a bowl.
To assemble, divide hash among four dinner plates. Top each with asparagus, a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce. If desired, sprinkle with additional paprika