Eggs ‘Royale’ is a derivative of the classic American breakfast Eggs ‘Benedict’. There are many conflicting claims as to when and who created this dish, though New York has become synonymous with the name. It consists of toasted English muffin, poached egg and ham or bacon finished with Hollandaise sauce. There are many variations of this classic dish ranging from Florentine with spinach to Forestier with mushrooms. Eggs Royale simply swaps ham for smoked salmon.
With a slight twist, this dish will consist of curing fresh salmon with beetroot and dill to give a sweet, salty and earthy flavour as well as a lovely colour. Similar to ‘Gravadlax’, a Nordic dish consisting of fresh salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. The idea of curing fish stems from the need to preserve surplus food, coming under the same heading as smoking and pickling.
This dish is perfect for Mother’s day morning, soft toasted muffin, sweet and salty salmon, runny poached egg and a rich hollandaise sauce; luxurious and best suited with a glass of bubbles. A real treat for all the hard-working mothers out there.
500g fresh skinned salmon
200g coarse sea salt
300g caster sugar
150g beetroot diced
1tsp black peppercorns
5 juniper berries
2tsp lemon zest
1 bunch dill (reserve a few springs for garnish)
Begin by preparing the cure in a pestle and mortar. Combine the aromats (peppercorns, juniper, lemon zest and dill stalks) then grind into a paste and add the beetroot and half the salt as an abrasive. Continue grinding until a rough paste is formed. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Find a suitable dish that will not stain and place a layer of the cure on the base, layer the salmon on top and cover with the remaining cure and refrigerate. Depending on the level of cure you want, the salmon can be left anywhere between 6 to 24 hours, though a slightly lighter cure of around 8 hours is preferred, as the salmon can become overly salty for this dish if left for too long. If time is of the essence most supermarkets are known to sell cured and sliced salmon if preferred, the classic smoked salmon is the obvious choice. Once the salmon has cured to your liking remove the cure, wash and wrap in a dry jay cloth. Cured fish can be kept refrigerated without spoiling for much longer than regular fresh fish though to be safe 5 days should suffice.
2 English muffins halved and toasted
2 medium eggs
3 egg yolks
1tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Next begin making the hollandaise sauce. Place the butter in a small saucepan and set over a low heat to melt. Make a ‘Bain Marie’ by bringing a separate saucepan of water to the boil, turning down to a gentle simmer and placing a heatproof bowl on top. Place the egg yolks in the bowl with lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Start by whisking till the yolks start to thicken. Remove from the heat occasionally or the eggs will scramble. Once the eggs are thick and fluffy slowly begin whisking in the clarified butter (top yellow layer), only a little at a time to allow the butter to emulsify or the eggs and butter will split. The result should be a lovely thick shiny sauce, if it is too thick add a little more lemon juice. Season and reserve somewhere warm.
The final jobs are poaching the eggs, toasting the muffins and slicing the salmon. Use the pan of boiling water from the Bain Marie and add a dash of white wine vinegar. Once the water is bubbling crack the eggs into the pan and turn the heat down slightly. If the eggs are fresh they will have no problem forming a perfect poached egg. If they are slightly older use a whisk and form a whirlpool in the middle of the pan and crack into it. The eggs should take a little over a minute to cook, at this time remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
Slice the salmon with a long thin bladed knife and toast the muffins. Assemble the dish by placing the toasted muffins on your plates face up, layer with salmon and place the poached egg on top. Season with a little pepper and a spoon of the hollandaise. Finish with the remaining dill sprigs and serve immediately with a glass of bubbles as a breakfast in bed treat.