Hot Smoked Salmon on Stewed Fennel with Poached Egg and Chervil

3:10 pm on 24 June 2011

Eggs must be very fresh for poaching. If buying them from the supermarket, check the use-by date and choose eggs with three weeks or longer shelf-life. Serve this for a classy brunch or lunch.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine
  • Sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp chopped chervil
  • 4 very fresh free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 100g hot-smoked salmon
  • thickly sliced grainy bread
  • 60g butter
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Method

Trim fennel, cut each bulb in half and wash well. Cut into thick chunks. Put fennel in a medium-sized frying pan with oil, wine, a couple of pinches of sea salt and grind of black pepper. Cover pan with a lid. Set over a medium heat to start, to get things moving along, but then turn heat to low (if the heat is too high the fennel will scorch). Cook for 12-15 minutes, until fork-tender (give a stir halfway through cooking and add a little water if it looks dry). Turn off heat and stir in half of the chervil.

Poach eggs by lowering them into a pan of simmering water to which you have added the vinegar and cook until done to your liking. Transfer to a bowl of warm water using a slotted spoon.

Have salmon already skinned, flaked and mopped with paper towels.

Toast bread and arrange on plates. Stack with fennel then salmon. Remove poached eggs one at a time from water using a slotted spoon or fish slice, supporting them with a piece of paper towel underneath. Trim them with a large round cookie cutter if tatty! Place an egg on each toast stack and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Heat butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until it foams and the foam turns a pale brown colour. Pour in the lemon juice. It will hiss and steam as soon as you pour the lemon juice in, so be prepared for it. Let it steam for about 1 minute, then spoon some over the top of each egg stack. Garnish with chervil and serve immediately.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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