Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Artichokes Benedict

Serves four

This takes me back to the time I spent in New York staying with friends in a wonderful apartment building called The Dakota. I used to meet Lauren Bacall in the lift, it's where they filmed Rosemary's Baby and sadly was John Lennon's last home.

The Russian Tea Room was a favourite meeting place and Eggs Benedict was practically a legal requirement if you wanted to stay in the city for Sunday brunch. Here, I've combined it with artichokes.

This recipe may sound a bit fiddly, but believe me . . . it isn't. If a cack-handed person like me can open an artichoke, anyone can.

4 large globe artichokes
4 large slices smoked ham
3 egg yolks
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
75g3oz unsalted butter
4 medium eggs

Pack the artichokes tightly into a large saucepan, completely cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (see Michael's Tip). While they're cooking, dry fry the ham and make the Hollandaise sauce:

Put the eggs yolks into a bain marie – or a large bowl in a saucepan of simmering water. Add the water and lemon juice and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the butter, one small piece at a time, still stirring constantly, until thickened. Sorry, but this will take about 15 minutes.

Drain the artichokes upside down. When cool enough to handle, open the outside leaves, pull out the central leaves and furry bits (the choke) this exposes the heart. Place a slice of ham in the middle of each artichoke.

Poach the eggs (see Michael's Tip). Put on top of the ham and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the egg.

Michael's Tip
People say the easiest way to check when an artichoke is cooked is to pull off one of the outside leaves. Much better is to lift them out with tongs and stick a sharp pointed knife into the base. Artichokes are cooked when the base is soft.

My wife has mastered the art of poaching eggs. Bring a large deep frying pan or wok full of water to a boil. Add a small dash of vinegar. Gently roll the eggs around in it for about 30 seconds – this helps to keep the whites together. Remove the eggs and turn the water down to a simmer. Break the eggs into the water and simmer for four minutes.

 

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