Start by heating your griddle pan, trim the stems from your asparagus then drizzle some oil on them and put them into the pan and char on all sides until cooked.
Put a saucepan of water on the heat and bring to the boil, while the water is boiling make your hollandaise. Put your white wine vinegar in a small pan with the diced shallot and the sprig of tarragon, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To make the hollandaise, put the two egg yolks in a bowl with a tsp of the vinegar reduction and a pinch of salt, while whisking constantly slowly add the melted butter, making sure you pour slowly leaving the butter fat at the bottom of the melted butter, then add the chopped tarragon and season to taste, set aside until required.
To poach the egg, when the pans of water is boiling turn the heat off then slowly add each egg into the water, then cover and leave for 1 minute, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon.
To serve place your charred asparagus on the plate then top with the soft poached egg, and pour the hollandaise over the egg.
Marcus’ top tips for the perfect hollandaise
1. Use really fresh, free-range eggs — as fresh as you can lay your hands on. The fresher the egg, the better the ingredients bind and the sauce is less likely to split. Fresh, free range eggs also make for a creamier, richer hollandaise. I get my eggs from my mother-in-law’s farm down the road. You really notice the difference and so I always use them when I can.
2. Make sure you season the sauce really well as it helps to bring out the flavour. I like to incorporate tarragon but there are loads of different flavours you can try — from a splash of orange juice to chopped spinach.
3. Finally, if your hollandaise does start to split while you’re whisking, add a little warm water (about a tea-spoon should be enough) and it should help to bring it back together.
Marcus’ advice for the perfect poached egg
1. Bring a pan half-filled with water to the boil.
2. Break your egg into a small cup or ramekin (so you don’t have to worry about bits of shell going into the pan).
3. Once the water has reached the boil, turn off the heat (but keep the pan on the hob).
4. Carefully lower the ramekin into the water, gently tip in (don’t drop from a height) and put the pan lid straight back on.
5. Check your egg after about a minute — this is normally long enough, although sometimes might need an extra few seconds.
Visit our asparagus recipe section for more cooking ideas, including asparagus tortilla, asparagus soufflé and asparagus risotto.