FOR THE WAFFLES:
In a small skillet, cook the pancetta or bacon over medium high heat until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Preheat a waffle iron. In a blender or food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse quickly to blend. Add the pancetta or bacon, cream, and eggs and process for 6 seconds. Scrape the sides of the container. Pulse for 3 seconds to fully mix.
Pour 1/2 cup of the batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep warm in a low oven. Repeat to cook the remaining batter. (To make ahead, let the waffles cool, then wrap in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. To thaw, place in the toaster or 350 degree F oven and cook until heated through.)
FOR THE SAUCE:
In a blender or food processor, combine the egg yolks, salt, and pepper and process for 10 seconds. In a small saucepan, melt the butter until it foams. With the machine running, pour the melted butter in a thin stream into the blender or processor. Add the zest and lemon juice and pulse to incorporate. Pour the sauce into a bowl and place over a pan filled with 2 inches of hot water to keep the sauce warm. Stir in the chives just before serving. (You can also keep the hollandaise warm in a Thermos.)
FOR THE ASPARAGUS:
Cook the asparagus in a skillet of salted boiling water for 3 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain and reserve.
FOR THE EGGS:
Bring a large skillet of water to a boil. Add the vinegar and reduce heat to a simmer. Break the eggs, one at a time, into a saucer and slide them into the water. With a spoon, gently bring the egg white over the center of each yolk to keep the whites intact. Cook for 4 minutes for soft-centered yolks. With a slotted spoon, transfter the eggs to a clean dish towel. (To make the eggs ahead of time: Cook the eggs for 3 minutes. Place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Before serving, cook the poached eggs in simmering water for 1 minute to reheat.)
Place a hot waffle on each of 4 warm plates and top with 3 asparagus stalks, 1 poached egg, and some hollandaise.
Thomas Keller, The French Laundry Restaurant: Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the poaching water. The vinegar will keep the egg whites from falling apart in the water and keep the egg whole. You won't be able to taste the vinegar.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.