By chef Mark Chandler
Bring a pan of water to a low simmer and add the vinegar. Using a spoon, stir in a circular motion to create a slow “whirlpool”. Gently crack an egg into the middle of the whirlpool. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes (depending on size of egg). Remove and refresh in iced water. Repeat with 3 more eggs. Remove the eggs from the iced water and gently pat dry. Pané the eggs by rolling them in flour, then dipping them in the beaten egg and finally rolling them in the breadcrumbs. It is important to ensure the eggs are completely covered with breadcrumbs and there are no gaps. Chill until required (they can be made up to one day in advance). To serve, place in a deep fat fryer for 1-2 minutes at 180C or until golden.
Place the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, until the butter melts and starts to foam. Remove from the heat. Bring a pan with a couple of centimetres of water to a simmer. In a bowl that fits the pan, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt. Place the bowl over the pan and whisk the yolks until you have a consistency like double cream. Take great care with the temperature of the water – too hot and you may curdle the eggs, too cool and they will not thicken and may split! Add the melted butter a little at a time to begin with, whisking constantly, until all has been incorporated, leaving the milky residue in the pan. Add 1 tbsp of cold water. Add a few drops of truffle oil or freshly grated truffle. Check for seasoning. Best served immediately (or you can keep it warm for up to 30 minutes).
Cut the woody bases from the asparagus spears and peel the skin from the bottom half. Cook in boiling, salted water for 1 ½ minutes and drain. We then chargrill briefly to give a lovely rich flavour but this is optional.
Place 6 asparagus spears on each plate. Take a slice of Parma Ham and place it on the asparagus. Place the egg onto the ham and spoon the sauce over and around. Delicious!
English Wine Week, ideal match to asparagus: Sixteen Ridges Bacchus.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
24 Fyfield asparagus spears
5 Free range eggs (1 beaten)
1 tbsp White wine vinegar
3 tbsp Flour
50g Panko breadcrumbs
4 Slices Parma ham (we use local Kelmscott air dried ham)
3 Egg yolks
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Grated Black truffle or a few drops of good quality truffle oil
Pinch of Salt
Oil to deep fry