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Asparagus, egg and cress sandwich with cured smoked ham, by Tristan Welch

23 April 2010

This recipe for asparagus, egg and cress sandwich with cured smoked ham comes courtesy of Tristan Welch, head chef, at Launceston Place in London.

INGREDIENTS
(Serves four)

  • 20 asparagus spears, trimmed and vacuum-packed with salted butter in 4 individual packs
  • 8 thin croutons, cut into 6cm rectangles
  • Mayonnaise
  • 60g cured smoked ham, torn into small pieces
  • Baby watercress

For the asparagus pureé

  • 260g green asparagus
  • 50g butter
  • Salt
  • Water

For the egg yolk confit

  • 6 free range organic eggs

For the watercress jelly

  • 180g fresh watercress
  • 200ml water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 leaves of gelatine soaked in cold water


METHOD

For the asparagus pureé

Slice the asparagus as thinly as possible. Place a large frying pan on a high heat and add the butter.

When the butter is foaming, add the asparagus, season with salt and keep it moving. Do not allow the asparagus to colour. If you think it is starting to fry and brown, add one dessertspoon of water to the pan to reduce the heat and create a little steam so that the asparagus cooks evenly. Do not turn down the heat.

When the asparagus is tender and well cooked, pour all the contents of the pan into a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and keep to one side until required.

For the egg yolk confit

Place the eggs in a water bath set to 66°C. Allow them to cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes, then place them in iced water and keep in the fridge so that the eggs chill down properly.

After the eggs have chilled, remove them from the water and crack them individually. Remove the yolks and discard any white around them. When all the yolks have been cleaned, place them in a vacuum bag. Roll the yolks, while inside the bag, until they are 4mm thick and seal to remove all air. Place in the fridge to chill. When well chilled cut into 6cm rectangles and keep in the fridge until needed. Remove from bag.

For the watercress jelly

Roughly chop the watercress, add it to a blender with the water and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, then pour it into a sieve and allow it to drip into a bowl.

Take 175ml of the watercress water, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Now take 40ml of the liquid, warm it gently and dissolve the gelatine. Quickly add the rest of the watercress water and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Place in the fridge to set.

To assemble

Cook the vacuum-packed asparagus in boiling water for three and a half minutes. In the meantime, warm the asparagus purée.

Make the egg and cress sandwiches by taking one crouton, place a slice of egg confit on top and season with salt and pepper. Add another crouton on top. Arrange little cubes of the watercress jelly along with dots of mayonnaise on the top crouton. Repeat three more times.

Take four warmed plates and spread a little of the asparagus purée in the middle of each plate. Place the asparagus on top and then the sandwich on top of that. Scatter a few pieces of the ham and baby watercress around each plate and serve.

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