Artichoke heart filled with smoked salmon and soft-poached gulls' eggs - by Michel Roux Jnr of Le Gavroche
4 globe artichokes, preferably Breton
Juice of 1/2 lemon
6tbs white wine vinegar
8 gulls' eggs
4 medium slices smoked salmon
1tbs tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper
4tbs caviar (optional)
Snap off stems and trim leaves of artichokes until only neatly shaped hearts are left. Squeeze over some lemon juice and cook in boiling, salted water with half the white wine vinegar for 15 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool in the cooking liquid. Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil with the remaining white wine vinegar and poach the eggs. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in very cold water. Trim the ragged edges from the white and place the eggs on a tea towel. Use a plain 8cm cutter to cut a neat circle from each slice of smoked salmon.
Dice the trimmings and keep in a bowl. For the garnish, stir together the ketchup, mayonnaise and Cognac and season to taste. Add the diced smoked salmon. To serve, divide the garnish between the four artichoke heart bottoms, place an egg on each one and top with the circles of smoked salmon. If you are feeling extravagant, caviar marries well with gulls' eggs. A generous spoon of sevruga on top of the egg is sheer bliss.