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April 16th is National Eggs Benedict Day.
This is a tasty breakfast dish with Hollandaise sauce, ham, eggs, and crunchy English Muffins. This is one of those recipes that looks more complicated than it actually is. However, there are four distinct layers to this recipe, which means a little planning is needed to ensure all components are nice and warm when ready to serve. In addition, it may take a little practice to achieve perfectly poached eggs, but the process is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
First, to get the perfect egg, you need to be able to perfectly poach your eggs. So the first part of today’s post has a tutorial on how to poach an egg.
How to Poach an Egg
- Rule #1: No Broken Yolks. The key to poached eggs with a nice runny center is to start with an intact yolk. If you struggle to crack open eggs without breaking the yolk, try giving them a single swift crack against the top of a bowl with a thin (vs. thick or rounded) edge. This creates a clean, thin break that is easy to crack apart without damaging the yolks in the process.
- Rule #2: Use Fresh Eggs. This is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule because it can be tough to know how fresh the eggs you purchase at your local grocery store are. However, try to use eggs you’ve recently purchased instead of ones that have been sitting in your refrigerator a while. Egg whites tend to break down and become runny as they age, so strain your eggs in a fine mesh strainer, as shown, before poaching to work around this.
Tutorial: How to Poach an Egg
- After straining, transfer each egg into its own ramekin or small bowl. This will make it easier to add each egg as quickly as possible to the boiling water. Plus, it helps keep the eggs separated from each other if you are poaching multiple eggs at one time.
- One popular poaching technique is to create a “swirling vortex” by vigorously stirring the boiling water with a large spoon in circles until it continues to rotate on its own after you stop stirring.
- Although this works well for a single egg, it is not ideal for poaching multiple eggs at one time. In that case, drop the eggs, one at a time, into the boiling water without swirling it first. For consistent results, set a timer and be sure to remove the eggs from the boiling water in the same order you added them.
- Tip: The key to success when using a swirling vortex is to dump a single egg quickly into the center of the vortex, rather than outside the center. By dumping the egg into the center, the swirling action forces the egg white to close in around the yolk to create a nicely shaped outer layer without a lot of wispy white tendrils hanging off of it.
- Cook time will vary depending on desired level of doneness. The images shown here were achieved with a 3-minute cook time. If runnier or firmer results are desired, adjust the cook time accordingly.
- Tip: If the poached eggs are not going to be eaten immediately, reduce cook time by 30-45 seconds, then reheat later by dropping them back in boiling water for another 30-45 seconds.
- When done poaching, remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess water. Gently pat dry before serving.
Ok. Now we are on to actually making the Eggs Benedict Recipe.
Making Eggs Benedict
Blender Hollandaise Sauce
- 6 T. unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1½ T. lemon juice
- 1/8 t. salt
- 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
- 2-3 c. warm water
Eggs Benedict Ingredients:
- 4 English muffin bottoms*
- 2 T. unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 c. water for boiling
- 1 T. white vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 8 slices Canadian bacon
- Cayenne pepper for garnish
- 1 T. fresh chives chopped
- Before starting, prep your work area by doing the following:
- — Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat™ baking sheet. Butter the English muffin bottoms and place on the prepared baking sheet, as shown. Set aside.
- — Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
- — Set up a warm water bath to keep the Hollandaise sauce warm by adding two cups very warm water to a shallow bowl. (Avoid overly hot water as it can cause the eggs to solidify). Set aside.
- — Fill a pot with 6 cups of water and set over high heat. Add one tablespoon white vinegar and bring to a rapid boil.
- — Add six tablespoons butter to a small skillet set over medium heat. Stir until completely melted, then reduce heat slightly to keep warm and bubbly while preparing the sauce.
- Add the eggs yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper to a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds, then slowly drizzle the warm, melted butter into the blender while it is still operating. Continue blending on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce is emulsified and reaches a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Turn off blender. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt, or cayenne pepper, as desired. Transfer the sauce to a heat-proof container, such as a glass canning jar, and place into the warm water bath until ready to use.
- Add eggs, one at a time, to a fine mesh sieve, as shown, for 2-3 minutes to remove excess liquid. Transfer each egg to a separate ramekin and set aside.
- Drop the strained eggs, one at a time, into the boiling water and poach for 3 minutes. Carefully remove each egg with a slotted spoon and transfer to the plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
- Add the Canadian bacon to a large skillet set over medium heat and heat just until warmed through and browned, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place the top oven rack on the second position from the top and set the broiler to high. Place the English muffins under the broiler for approximately 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, rotating once halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
- To serve, assemble by topping the toasted English muffins with two slices of Canadian Bacon and one of the poached eggs. Pour some warm Hollandaise sauce on top and garnish with a small pinch of cayenne pepper and some chopped chives right before serving. Enjoy!
Steps to Pull it All Together:
- Assemble all ingredients and set up your work area, as described in Step #1 below.
- Prepare the Hollandaise sauce, then transfer to a heat-proof container, such as a glass canning jar, and set in a warm water bath to keep warm until ready to serve.
- Poach the eggs per instructions.
- Brown the Canadian bacon while the English muffins are toasting under a hot broiler (watch carefully to avoid burning).
- Assemble and serve immediately.
General Tip: There is some debate regarding the safety of Hollandaise sauce due to the use of uncooked eggs. Traditional cooking methods involve “cooking” the eggs over very low heat using a double boiler before whisking in the butter. With the blender method described below, it is important to start with very warm melted butter (it should be bubbling, but not scorched). Melting the butter on a stovetop (vs. in a microwave) makes it easier to achieve the right temperature without scorching it.
If you try this Eggs Benedict recipe, let me know in the comments!
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