Sunday 10 August
We invented Eggs Beatrice. I want to make that perfectly clear. Now, I'm not claiming that other people haven't invented Eggs Beatrice since, or even that we necessarily invented Eggs Beatrice first, merely that we came up with the idea ourselves one fine lazy morning around 1985. We had made (and eaten) Eggs Benedict, and began to speculate what Eggs Beatrice might be. Barbara suggested that if he was a bit of a ham, she was a bit of a cold fish. So Eggs Beatrice was born: Nova Scotia lox instead of Canadian bacon (both of which are neither . . . you know the rest . . . discuss) and —this is the important part— a lime hollandaise. If it doesn’t have lime hollandaise, then you know it's merely some pale imitation of our Eggs Beatrice.
The great difficulty is getting everything au point at the same moment (which may be one of the great differences between us the dedicated amateurs and them the professionals). The eggs poached exactly so that the whites are firm but yolks set on the outside only, still slightly liquid in the center; the EngMuffs toasted and still warm; the lox thin-sliced by a Certified Loxologist and laid out in EngMuff-sized circles to lose its chill; the lime hollandaise just thickened, being continually whisked so it doesn't scramble; the plates warmed, the table set, the wine poured.
Then you build it all together as fast as you can: warm plate, toasty EngMuff, splash of lime hollandaise schmeared on it, circle of lox, perfect poached egg, generous ladleful of lime hollandaise, and finally, a gentle sprinkle of cayenne for contrast over the top; in this case, times four, two eggs each as a full dinner portion. Then fall to, and if you've done it right, they're snarfed up immediately. In fact, we generally award this the Order of the Finger, which is used to wipe up every delicious trace of lime hollandaise from the plate.