This is our version of eggs Benedict: a poached egg served on brioche with bacon and a butter sauce, which is much lighter than hollandaise. We also give our customers the option of having it with smoked salmon or with spinach as a vegetarian option.
1 tbsp white wine vinegar 8 eggs 8 smoked streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed 40g (1 1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened 225g (8oz) baby spinach leaves sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 brioche loaf, cut into 8 slices with ends discarded fresh chervil sprigs, to garnish
FOR THE BUTTER SAUCE: 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) cream 1 tsp prepared English mustard 2 tbsp softened butter 1 tsp cornflour, sifted squeeze of lemon juice 1 tsp snipped fresh chives sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pan with 2.25 litres (4 pints) water. Add the white wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Break each egg into the water where it is bubbling, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 minutes, until the eggs are just cooked through but the yolks are still soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water.
Preheat the grill, then grill the bacon until crispy and golden brown.
Add half of the butter to a large pan over a medium heat and once it starts to foam, tip in the spinach. Sauté over a fairly high heat until just wilted. Season to taste and drain off any excess liquid on kitchen paper, then return to the pan and keep warm.
Meanwhile, stamp out 7.5cm (3in) rounds of brioche with a straight-sided cutter. Arrange the brioche rounds on a grill pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, until lightly toasted, turning once. Spread with the remaining butter.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the poached eggs and cook for 1 minute to warm through.
To make the butter sauce, place the cream and mustard in a small pan and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk in the butter, cornflour and lemon juice, then continue to whisk for 2–3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the chives and season to taste. Keep warm.
To serve, place the brioche on warmed plates and spoon on small mounds of the spinach. Place slices of bacon on top of the spinach. Using a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs from the pan and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Place an egg on the bacon and spoon over the butter sauce. Garnish with the chervil sprigs.
COOK AHEAD The poached eggs will keep happily in the fridge in a large bowl of cold water for up to 24 hours. The butter sauce keeps for 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If using spinach, it can be cooked the day before and kept wrapped in kitchen paper in the fridge.