Parsley velouté with crisp poached egg and ham hock

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
  • ½ white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Sebago potato (about 150gm), very thinly sliced
  • 50 ml pouring cream
  • To serve: coarsely torn flat-leaf parsley and baguette
  •  
  • Ham hock
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 600gm)
  • 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 white peppercorns
  •  
  • Crisp egg
  • For greasing: olive oil
  • 5 eggs and 1 egg whisked, for egg wash
  • For dusting: seasoned flour
  • 200 gm dried breadcrumbs
  • For deep frying: vegetable oil
01   For ham hock, preheat oven to 130C. Combine all ingredients in a casserole, then bake, covered, until meat is tender (1-1½ hours). Remove hock, then when cool enough to handle, peel and discard fatty exterior and break meat into large pieces (discard bone, sinew, fat). Set aside in a warm place. Strain, reserve 700ml poaching liquor and set aside.
02   Blanch parsley in boiling salted water for 20 seconds, drain, refresh in iced water, then drain again. Squeeze excess moisture from parsley, finely chop and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add leek, onion and garlic, sauté over medium heat until soft (4-6 minutes), add potato and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add reserved poaching liquor, bring to the boil and cook until potato is soft (10-12 minutes). Add cream, transfer to a blender and, with motor running, add chopped blanched parsley, blending well until deep green in colour and smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, pass through a fine sieve into a saucepan and keep warm.
03   Meanwhile, for crisp egg, line a coffee cup with plastic wrap and brush plastic wrap with a little olive oil. Crack an egg into the cup, gather the plastic wrap so the egg is completely wrapped, then twist plastic to secure. Remove from cup and set aside. Repeat with remaining eggs. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add prepared eggs and cook to your liking (7-8 minutes for soft-poached). Chill completely in iced water. Meanwhile, place egg wash, flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Carefully unwrap poached eggs, roll in flour, then egg wash and finally well-seasoned breadcrumbs, shaking off excess at each stage. Preheat oil to 180C in a deep fryer or deep saucepan, add eggs and deep-fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
04   To serve, divide velouté among bowls, place a crisp egg in the middle of each, scatter ham hock and parsley around the egg and serve immediately with a baguette.

Recipe:

WARREN TURNBULL

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

Drinking Suggestion:

RICH, NEW-WORLD CHARDONNAY. , suggested by SHARON TIMMS

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