This year we’re publishing a series of online recipes inspired by Adam Blackett, owner of The Farm Café here at Chigborough Fisheries. Certainly, us locals are lucky to have Adam on our doorstep, a chef whose creativity is rooted in classic French cuisine. No surprise when you reflect on some of his career highlights.
Adam was head chef at The Walbrook Club, the extraordinarily exclusive private members club for City grandees and millennial hedge fund whizz-kids in London’s financial heartland. Appointed by the late great Albert Roux, to say Adam learnt from one of the very best in the profession is, if anything, under-egging the pudding.
Previously, Adam was senior sous at The Mason’s Arms, the Michelin-starred Devon pub and fine dining restaurant run by chef patron Mark Dodson. Again, who better to work alongside in the kitchen. Mark had spent 12 years as head chef of The Waterside Inn in Bray, annually helping the legendary Roux-owned culinary powerhouse retain without fail its perfect three Michelin stars.
And it was Mark who recommended Adam to Albert, an astounding peer-to-super peer endorsement to say the least. We could go on, but you probably get the picture.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into this lavish number. Imbued with the influence of an Eggs Florentine, Adam emboldens proceedings with the spicy North African flavour of harissa. The end result is a brunch of sassy sophistication with exotic undertones that’s still pretty straightforward to prepare.
300g Maldon Cure Smoked Salmon Sashimi
3 Egg Yolks (for the hollandaise)
2 Whole Eggs (for poaching)
200g Unsalted Butter
1 Tsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Fresh Lemon Half
2 Portobello Mushrooms (stalks removed)
200g Fresh Baby Spinach
1 English Muffin
1 Tsp Harissa Paste (of course you can make the harissa yourself, but to save time Adam says better to buy a small jar)
50g Roasted Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds
50g Pomegranate Seeds
30g Chopped Chives
Step 1. First off make your hollandaise. In a saucepan gently melt your butter and set aside. Remove any separate solids and use only the golden clarified butter.
Step 2. Fill a separate saucepan up to a third with water and bring to a simmer. Then in a glass bowl stir together yolks, with water and splash of white wine vinegar. Place the bowl over the gently steaming saucepan and very gradually whisk in the melted butter.
Step 3. When the hollandaise has thickened to the desired consistency (should take around five minutes tops) remove from the heat. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon. Set aside and keep warm.
Step 4. Sauté the spinach in a frying pan with either a splash of olive oil or a knob of butter. Then set aside and keep warm.
Step 5. Again, sauté in a frying pan the portobello mushroom with olive oil or butter. Likewise set aside and ensure mushrooms stay warm. Alternatively you could roast the mushroom.
Step 6. Dry roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the oven for four to five minutes. Then keep warm.
Step 7. At the same time, poach two eggs in a saucepan of boiling water (simmer please rather than roil) for three to four minutes depending on preference. A handy tip to stop wispy bits of egg white ruining your efforts is to place the egg in a sieve beforehand. Only tip into the saucepan once the looser parts of the egg white have fallen through the sieve.
Step 8. Whilst poaching slice and toast the muffin. Butter if you wish once it’s done.
Step 9. Lift the poached eggs out the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel to drain off excess moisture before plating up.
Step 10. Now stack the various elements on the muffins. Start with the portobello mushroom followed by the spinach, around their edge curl slices of Maldon Cure smoked salmon sashimi.
Step 11. Crown each muffin with the poached egg and spoon over the warm hollandaise sauce.
Step 12. Finally, sprinkle with roasted seeds and pomegranate seeds along with chopped chives and harissa paste which should be loosened with a splash of olive oil. Serve and consume with decorous gusto.