As my husband and I recently discovered a liking for Eggs Benedict, I figured it was imperative I learn to make this popular American breakfast dish at home.
The combination of the light delicacy of the poached egg, the creamy hollandaise sauce, the crunch of the english muffin, and the salty Canadian bacon are just too good to not fall madly in love with.
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each (optional)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 8 slices Canadian bacon
- 4 English muffins
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar*
- 8 large eggs*
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
Of course I had to thoroughly research poaching eggs before heading into the kitchen to start breakfast.
Sally pointed me to this instructional video by Jamie Oliver to learn how to do it. (For us visual learners, this video is mighty helpful).
I bought an extra carton of eggs in case I couldn't successfully poach an egg after 2 or 3 tries. (I would recommend this to anyone trying this cooking method for the first time.) It definitely took the pressure off of messing up, since I had more than enough eggs to use.
Here are the most useful things I learned about successfully poaching an egg:
- Crack the egg into a small bowl before adding it to the pot of simmering water
- Create a whirlpool in the water before dropping the egg (this ensures the egg white wraps around the yolk)
- Set a timer for 3 minutes and 30 seconds
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the egg which should be thoroughly opaque
- Set the poached egg on a paper towel covered plate
Another thing Jamie swears by are FRESH eggs. He says the poach the best. (Unfortunately I didn't know this so mine were not fresh.) Next time I'm out shopping, I'm reaching for the eggs at the far back of the fridge.
Sally mentioned using white vinegar in the water to help keep the egg white from breaking apart (feathering), but agreeing with Jamie Oliver "that it could make the egg taste vinegary", I left it out.
*If you are having trouble keeping the egg white together, try adding 1/2 teaspoon vinegar for every two eggs to the water.
My first try landed me one successful egg and one mangled yolky mess. Still, I was delighted!
Second try and I had two perfectly bundled yolks. It was a fascinating feat of kitchen genius for my short cooking career – it really doesn't take much to make me feel invincible.
If you need a personality booster, learn to poach an egg. You'll feel absolutely brilliant once you've done it.
The hollandaise sauce was an easy recipe to follow, especially since you can make it in the blender. After accidentally blending the butter and lemon first – resulting in a hard clump stuck to the bottom of my blender – I learned once again, that reading the recipe through beforehand is a MUST!
- Blend the egg yolks and lemon for 30 seconds
- Gradually add the melted butter while the blender is still running
- Turn off the blender once the ingredients look well-combined, producing a creamy texture
- Mix in desired spices
I added salt, pepper, paprika, and a dab of Tapatio hot sauce for that extra bite (stirring in using a spatula, so not to over-blend the sauce) .
You can add so many different toppings to eggs benedict. You can even substitute the ham for crispy bacon or even dungeness crab – we read that addition on the menu at a fancy restaurant in Big Sur.
David and I are obsessed with avocados (they go on anything...ice cream?) so clearly they were added to ours. I also cut up some fresh tomatoes for mine like Sally had in her recipe.
Throw on a garnish of fresh parsley for a tasteful finish and your breakfast is ready to serve – after taking a picture first, for Instagram of course.
I was so happy with how the meal turned out! The hollandaise sauce wasn't too lemony (I have a reputation of adding too much lemon to recipes), the eggs yolks were lush and runny, and David was impressed, which made me all the more delighted. The kitchen was a mess, but I couldn't care less!
It's so much fun learning new recipes, especially ones that seem like "restaurant only" dishes (you know, the meals you never think you can recreate at home). My only question is: How do you successfully eat Eggs Benedict without making a huge slimy mess?