This recipe comes from Michael Hartnell, the young executive chef at Le Caprice, the sister establishment of London's Le Caprice, possibly one of the most difficult restaurants to get into in that city. The menus and the rooms are much the same, although the New York location is much more relaxed. I've adapted this recipe with ingredient suggestions you can find more easily. If you can't get smoked haddock, use smoked trout or hot smoked salmon. If you can't find quail eggs, use small regular eggs or omit. Wilt the spinach for this recipe in a skillet.
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces (125 grams) smoked haddock or hot smoked salmon
4 cups packed baby spinach, wilted and squeezed of excess liquid
4 4-inch prebaked puff pastry tartlet shells
4 poached quail eggs
Combine butter and flour in a small pot over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Whisk in stock, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute or until thickened. Whisk in mustard and season with salt to taste.
Place egg yolks in a blender and whirl until combined. Combine butter and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat and heat until melted and uniform. Turn on blender and pour hot liquid into egg yolks in a slow steady stream until fully incorporated. It will thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine velouté, 1/4 cup hollandaise, smoked haddock and spinach and place a thin layer of mixture inside each of the prebaked tartlet shells. Top with a poached egg, and then fill up tart shell with remaining haddock mixture to conceal egg. Pour 1 tablespoon hollandaise over top of each tartlet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until filling is hot and top starts to brown. Serve hot. Serves 4
To prebake tartlets, buy frozen butter puff pastry and cut out four 6-inch circles. Fit pastry circles into 4-inch tartlets shells or large muffin cups. Prick the base and the sides and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 400 F.
To poach eggs: Simmer eggs in a pan of water for 2 minutes if quail eggs, 3 minutes if regular - they should be runny as they will bake again.
If you prefer the anchovies in the dressing, just cut them up and add them as indicated in the recipe, but I like about six strewn over the salad. The croutons have a different look than the little squares; they are much more interesting as all different shapes. Tear out the inside of a ciabatta loaf or sourdough. Leftover croutons keep well in a plastic bag in a cupboard. Do not refrigerate. The poached eggs can be made ahead of time and served cold or rewarmed in hot water for a minute.
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic cloves
4 cups torn bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 chopped anchovies
¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 eggs, poached for 3 minutes
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn
½ sweet onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove garlic from oil and set aside.
Toss bread with oil in skillet until well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning pieces once, or until crisp and golden. Let cool.
Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, Worcestershire, anchovies, lemon rind and juice in a bowl and whisk until uniform. Drizzle in olive oil, a little at a time, and whisk until fully incorporated. Stir in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss romaine with dressing until lightly coated. Divide between 4 bowls and sprinkle with croutons, fried garlic, onion and shaved parmesan. Top each salad with a poached egg. Serves 4.