It’s Eggs Benedict Day!

Apparently it’s National Eggs Benedict Day, according to some mystic body that honors such things. And since I can barely contain myself when it comes to cooking, this morning I made not one poached egg dish, but three different ones. Ably assisted by Regina and Bennet, I made a simple classic Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, and an off-the-cuff dish I’m dubbing Eggs Jimbo, a more rustic poached egg dish with toasted sourdough, Jimmy Dean sausage, and a hollandaise sauce with a small boost of whole grain mustard.

I love Eggs Benedict for brunch, but oftentimes in restaurants I find the hollandaise congealed and much too heavy. I find the delicate poached eggs frequently over-cooked, which kills it for me. And the English muffin is too often tough, sometimes more resilient than the chewy hockey-puck that passes for Canadian bacon. Restaurants that specialize in brunch are usually under pressure to crank out dozens and dozens, if not hundreds and hundreds of plates of Eggs Benedict, and as a result use shortcuts in their hollandaise, par-poach eggs way in advance, and pre-toast their industrially-supplied muffins to the point of petrification. I am almost always disappointed, and if not disappointed by the meal itself, disgusted by the bloated feeling that pervades just minutes later.

So I recommend, as I usually do, trying your hand at making it at home. Hollandaise is a little tricky but not really challenging. Poaching eggs is easy, but might require a little practice. If you’re inviting friends over for a Mimosa brunch and intend to make Eggs Benedict make sure you know what you’re doing before drinking three glasses of cheap champagne and making eggs for twenty. Although that’ll probably be pretty fun! Making mistakes when you’re cooking at home can be educational and entertaining, if you’re in the company of good friends. My point, don’t sweat the small stuff and have a good time.

The basic recipes for each dish are as follows…

Eggs Benedict

• poached eggs, recipe below
• Canadian bacon, although I prefer more tender American ham steak, cut to the right size
• good English muffins
• classic hollandaise sauce, recipe below
• paprika

• warm ham in a small saute pan with a little veg oil
• split the English muffin and toast until browned, lightly butter if you’d like
• put warm ham on each muffin half
• put poached egg on ham, season lightly with salt and pepper
• top with warm hollandaise
• top with pinch of paprika

Eggs Florentine. They must really love spinach in Florence, huh?

Eggs Florentine

• poached eggs, recipe below
• a little butter, salt & pepper
• fresh baby spinach
• crumpets, which are actually “English” muffins, as opposed to the very American creation “English Muffins”
• classic hollandaise sauce, recipe below
• paprika

• saute spinach (a big, big handful per person) with butter, salt, and pepper. Undercook it slightly.
• toast the crumpets, butter it lightly if you like
• place a 1/4 cup of wilted spinach on each crumpets
• put poached egg on spinach, season lightly with salt and pepper
• top with warm hollandaise
• add a pinch of paprika
I love sausage! Eggs Jimbo hits the sausage spot!

Eggs Jimbo

• poached eggs, recipe below
• country sausage
• sourdough bread
• classic hollandaise sauce, recipe below
• half teaspoon of whole grain dijon mustard

• form thin patties of sausage, about three to four inches in diameter. Cook in a little veg oil until browned and cooked through. 
• add mustard to about 2/3 cup of classic hollandaise and whisk together
• toast a slice of sourdough bread, butter it lightly, and cut into two halves
• put sausage patty on each half
• put poached egg on sausage, season lightly with salt and pepper
• top with warm whole grain mustard hollandaise

Hollandaise Sauce

3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
big pinch of white pepper
room temperature water

Set up a double-boiler. That’s going to be a medium-sized pot with a stainless steel bowl that fits in the top comfortably. Use a deep enough pot so that the bowl has at least four inches of clearance below it. Fill the pot with 2 inches of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Put the egg yolks and cream into the bowl. Whisk gently together. Placed bowl over the simmering water and whisk consistently (but not too vigorously) until the eggs have thickened slightly. If the eggs get a little clumpy you can add a teaspoon or so of water to thin it out, whisking until smooth.

Now add butter, a few chunks at a time, until it melts. You need to whisk constantly after each addition in order for the butter and eggs to emulsify (combine smoothly). When you’ve whisked in all the butter (which should take about six to eight minutes) add the lemon juice and whisk it in until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Now check your consistency. Your hollandaise should be smooth, not too thick, and it should flow. If it seems dense, whisk in a little water.

Now, set aside the bowl of hollandaise (off the double boiler) until you’re ready to top your eggs. Keep your pot of water at the ready. You can replace the bowl over the water, turn the simmer back on, and reheat your hollandaise just before you’re ready to assemble. Again, when you reheat the sauce, if it thickens too much, whisk in a bit of water to thin and smooth it out.

Poached Eggs 101

set up a large, shallow pan, preferably non-stick, with two inches of water in it
bring water to a boil
add two tablespoons of cider vinegar (or white vinegar or rice vinegear)
reduce heat to a simmer

To poach eggs, crack each egg into a very small bowl. Drop egg very gently (right over the surface) into the simmering water. Using a large spoon gently gather the egg whites as they solidify around the yolks. Simmer for about four minutes. With a slotted spoon gently lift the egg from the water and place on a pan or plate lined with paper towels. The eggs will be very runny, so be careful not to break the yolk.

These eggs are ready to go! If you wish, you can poach eggs two or three or four at a time, drain and then hold until brunch-time, but no longer than a half-hour. And then a couple of minutes prior to assembly you can reheat the eggs in the simmering water very briefly.

Muffins ‘n’ Crumpets!

I really love Bays English muffins, found in the refrigerated section near the eggs. They have great flavor and crisp nicely when toasted. Sorry, Thomas’ muffins just don’t compare.

Also, I love crumpets, which are more authentically “English” than English muffins. The only supermarket brand I know is Peter Pan which, despite the Union Jack on the package, is made in North Hollywood!

This recipe is for Briana!

5 thoughts on “It’s Eggs Benedict Day!

  1. These all look divine!! Oh to be your neighbor again… that sausage one is brilliant. If only there was some holiday coming up I could get Brian to make them for me. Thanks for sharing, I'll have to keep these in my back pocket for later 🙂

  2. have you ever made breakfast sausage from scratch? i was thinking of brewing up a batch and then freezing the patties for quick easy beffasses on the fly. and that way i know what's in them too (as lunch lady doris says … ). there are recipes on teh webz, but if you've got ideas i'm all ears.

  3. Pingback: Dungeness Crab Benedict | OMNIVOROUS

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