This recipe was inspired by a vist to the Welbeck Estate near Worksop, Nottingham. I went with my friend Serena to the Christmas Market and we had brunch in the Harley café, next to the art gallery. I had total food envy, as she ordered these amazing looking poached eggs on toast with a little pot of tomato sauce that was served with it. I didn’t actually taste the sauce, but decided to recreate something similar at home. These poached eggs are on hot buttered sourdough toast and served with a quick tomato and basil compote.
4 large and very fresh, free range eggs
Sour dough loaf
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
Small bunch of basil
1tbs olive oil
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut a cross in the bottom of each tomato and place in a pan of boiling water for a minute or two to loosen the skins. Plunge into iced water and remove the skins. Cut them in half and de-seed.
Gently sauté the chopped onion in the oil until soft.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with salt, pepper, ketchup and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook for around 5 minutes. Roll up the basil and finely shred with a sharp knife. Add this to the tomatoes and keep on a low heat while you poach the eggs.
Poached Eggs – 2 ways
The proper way:
To poach the eggs and have them all ready at the same time. I make them one at a time, cool them down quickly and then reheat them gently. In order to do this, have a bowl of iced water ready and put a deep pan of salted water onto the heat until simmering.
Break the egg into a cup and using a long handled spoon, swirl the water and gently place the egg in the middle. Cook gently until the white has just set around the still runny yolk and carefully remove with a slotted spoon and place in the iced water. Repeat with the other eggs.
When you have all the eggs ready and waiting in the iced water, you are ready to assemble.
Pop the bread in to toast and gently place all the eggs in the hot water. They will take around 2 minutes to heat up.
When they are ready, butter the toast and lift out the eggs one by one, blotting any excess water onto a paper towel and place on the toast. This will ensure everything is ready at the same time. Serve the compote on the side.
You can easily make this recipe ahead by refrigerating the tomato compote and keeping the eggs in cold water and storing in a leak-proof container for up to 3 days in the fridge before re-heating.
The cheat’s way to poach eggs (as shown in the photograph):
Put a pan of water on the heat and bring up to a simmer
Place four squares of cling film on the counter top and brush very lightly with vegetable oil – nothing with a strong taste. Place your lightly oiled squares over 4 ramekins and carefully break the eggs into each one.
Gather up the cling film, leaving no air in the parcel. Twist to secure each of the eggs within the plastic and lower into the simmering water, leaving the twisted ends standing proud, so you are able to pull them out again.
Leave for a few minutes, until the whites have just set, leaving runny yolk, and then carefully and very gently take them out again. Unwrap your perfectly cooked eggs and place on the waiting toast. Season with a little salt and pepper.