I’m normally not a breakfast person, mostly because breakfast food tends to involve a lot of dishes loaded with carbs and I’m more of a protein fan. My main exception is Eggs Benedict, a sinfully delicious treat. I usually order this dish in a restaurant, but last week I decided to try and make it myself. And it was scrumptious! There are a couple of details that are crucial to the proper execution of the dish.
First, I used sliced deli ham instead of Canadian bacon, which was less salty and a bit lighter. Instead of the usual English muffin or brioche base, I used toasted English Muffin bread. This was easy to find and still provided a great crunchy texture (very important to the dish).
The most difficult part is creating the perfect poached egg. Some people crack the eggs into simmering water, and hope for the best. The problems arise when the egg white disperses from the yolk and gets every else. Some expert egg poachers mitigate this effect by adding some vinegar or by stirring the water to keep the egg white in place.
After much trial and even more error, I use a nonstick egg poaching skillet. The poaching skillets are a godsend because they keep the egg white in place and provide you the individual attention necessary to cook each poached egg perfectly. When you’re cooking for more than one a typical 4-egg skillet might not cut it; but instead of buying a 6-egg skillet which can run you between $50 to $125, just buy 2 4-egg skillets at $20 each.
Then you’ll be prepared to accommodate the larger breakfast crowds that will inevitably appear once your friends get wind of your Eggs Benedict prowess. Once you have your egg poaching skillet, you add water to the bottom pan, and put a tiny bit of butter, water or oil in each egg holder (so it’s easy to remove once cooked). I like my eggs runny, so you have to really watch how long you cook them (usually no longer than 3 minutes).
Lastly, but most importantly, is the hollandaise sauce. You can make it from scratch (a combo of butter, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and salt), buy it canned (not recommended because there are so many varieties and many that are disgusting), or use a dry hollandaise mix. I prefer the mix to use as a base while adding the other ingredients to taste. I use Knorr Hollandiase mix, it’s easy to make, quick, and delicious.
Important Note: When making the hollandaise it is important to not to have the heat to high or else you’ll end up with scrambled lemon eggs.
Serve it hot, so that the poached egg yolk still runs over the ham and bread when cut. The culinary conclusion is my favorite breakfast dish.
Other versions are numerous: Eggs Florentine (substitute spinach instead of ham), Eggs Chesapeake (substitute crabcake instead of ham), Eggs Montoya or Steak n’ Eggs Benedict (substitute Filet Mignon instead of ham), Irish Benedict (substitute Corned Beef instead of ham), as well as many others.