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A classic Eggs Benedict with a chewy English muffin, crispy salty bacon rashers, a soft yolk poached egg draped in a classic hollandaise sauce. The breakfast or brunch meal you didn’t know you needed.
So why the name Eggs Benedict? Well, a little history class before we talk about one of the best breakfast dishes to make and eat. Lemuel Benedict was a stock broker in New York, who at the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 was looking for a hangover cure. He requested two poached eggs over buttered toast, crisp bacon and the luxurious hollandaise sauce.
Since then the recipe has been tweaked where instead of toast we use English muffins, the bacon is either soft or crisp but you could use smoked salmon or ham as well, the eggs are always poached and the sauce is always hollandaise.
It is sprinkled with a little paprika or white pepper and served on its own or with a house salad. This is a breakfast fit for royalty. It is indulgent and certainly is not for an everyday affair but definitely worth all the effort.
Now lets understand the 4 parts to making the perfect eggs Benedict:
1.Poached Eggs – I love my egg yolks runny, this way it can mix with the sauce while am eating and it is a mouthful of flavor not to mention velvety smooth goodness. You can poach your eggs to the doneness of your liking.
Let us talk about poaching eggs, you could poach them in an egg poacher if you have one just make sure to line the ramekins with little oil or butter to remove them easily once Cooked. You could also poach your eggs in a microwave, it is a hack but it does work – would I personally do it? Nope I wouldn’t. Or the old original way of simmering water and gently cracking an egg into it.
However you choose to poach your eggs make sure you know how you like your eggs cooked, (this will vary on the method of poaching) – if you like them runny it would need 3 mins for poaching, if you like them jammy it would need 5-6 mins for poaching and if you like them hard it would need 7-8 mins for poaching.
2.Bacon – I love using pork bacon here. You can use turkey strips or beef bacon if you like. Also I would recommend using streaky bacon as there is a good amount of fat and meat in each rasher. Back bacon is more meaty and less fatty which also works here but this is just my personal preference.
The easiest way to cook bacon is in a cold pan over low heat. Keep flipping each slice for even coloring and cooking. Now if you don’t have bacon or don’t like it you can use any salami or ham for that matter. A lot of restaurants serve it with smoked salmon as well. If you don’t eat meat you can use sautéed mushrooms or zucchini instead.
3.Hollandaise – Now there are 2 easy ways to make this sauce, the original way uses a double boiler and you need to whisk your egg yolk with vinegar until doubled in volume, then add the clarified butter little at a time until the sauce comes together.
The other method is by using a blender to make the sauce, beat the egg yolk and vinegar in the blender until it is creamy, add the warm melted butter little at a time until thick. Making a hollandaise is not that difficult but there are a few important points to keep in mind, they are:
- The eggs must be separated well, no white should be in the mixture.
- The vinegar used should be white and you must blend the egg yolk into the vinegar well.
- The melted butter HAS to be warm while making the sauce, this will essentially cook the eggs yolks.
- I like to brown the butter a little as this adds a nutty and sweetish flavor to the sauce naturally.
- The butter must be added teaspoon at a time in to the egg yolk mixture. Be patient.
- Ideally you want to use unsalted butter and season later.
- You must season the sauce with white pepper, salt and lemon juice once the consistency has been achieved.
4. English muffins – I made my English muffins at home, you could use store bought. Alternatively if you can’t get your hands on any, you can use burger buns or brioche bread that has been toasted.
Eggs Benedict is always made to order which means the don’t have a long shelf life, the poached eggs will get cold while the muffin will get soggy and the sauce doesn’t last longer than 2 hours while the bacon will get greasy, so don’t make this ahead of time, it should be made and eaten immediately.
In saying this, the English muffins can be made the day before and stored in an air tight container ready for assembly the next day. The bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce should be made before eating in the respective order as suggested. It seems like a tedious affair but I am only giving you tips based on practical knowledge to make your cooking experience smooth.
Lets making some breakfast, Happy Poaching Ninjas!
- Large saute pan
- Fork & Spoon
- Stock pot with lid
- Small bowl
- Large bowl
- Medium sauce pot
- Serve plates
- 6 rashers Bacon
- 6 Eggs
- 12 Ice cubes
- 6 English Muffins
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 150 gm Melted butter clarified ideally
- 2 Egg yolks
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp White vinegar
To serve with
- White pepper powder
- Slice your muffins in half and lay them on the serving plates, if you are toasting them, now is the time.
To make the bacon:
- Place the rashers/slices in a large sauté pan.
- Switch on the gas and leave to cook on low heat, flipping each slice every now and then for even cooking.
- Once cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack so the excess fat can drain out.
To poach the eggs:
- In a large stock pot, fill water 3/4 of the way, place on high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and let it gently simmer. Add a drop of white vinegar and stir the water around.
- Crack your egg in a small bowl and drop it gently into the simmering water.
- You can poach up to 4 eggs at once - depending on the size of your sauté pan.
- Cover and let it cook for 3-4 mins, using a slotted spatula remove the eggs one at a time from the pot and transfer to an ice bath (bowl with ice water) for a min or two.
To make the Hollandaise -
- In a blender add the egg yolks and white vinegar, let them blend for al teast 2 mins.
- While that is happening heat the butter until bubbling and frothy, spoon out the white foam that float to the top, and let it get a little brown.
- Remove from the heat and add spoonfuls of the butter into the egg mixture, blending between each addition.
- Be patient and the butter gradually or else it will split.
- Once all the butter has been added, season with salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Blend again.
- Place 2 slices on bacon on a muffin, add the poached on top, season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon over the hollandaise sauce and continue until done.
- Serve hot and with lettuce or a green leaf salad on the side
- If you don’t have a large sauté pan to make the bacon, make it in batches.
- If the hollandaise splits, try added 2 teaspoons of cold water into the mixture and blending until smooth. If it still doesn't come together, it is botched and you need to start again hence be patient in the beginning while making it.
- If your eggs have gone too cold they can be reheated in warm water.