Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

For some strange reason, Eggs Benedict has been known to intimidate many home cooks.  I guess it’s the thought of making the required hollandaise sauce that freaks people out.  It can be a little tricky, but it’s really not that big of deal.  There’s really only one part that’s tricky… and I’ll cover that below.   So, let’s do this… and stop buying that crap that comes in a package because just adding water to something is not cooking, it’s just assembling.  Plus, read the ingredients – some of that crap is not good for you at all!

The point of this recipe is the hollandaise sauce.  I mean, you don’t need me to tell you how to cook some back bacon or ham, toast some English muffins and poach some eggs… at least I hope I don’t.  This recipe is certainly not mine… it’s a standard that people have been making for hundreds of years.

This recipe will make enough for two breakfasts…

  • 4 egg yolks (Keep the whites in the fridge for later use… like the lemon meringue pie you were thinking about making!)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is better, but the bottled stuff works fine too)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 pound)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional, but is commonly used)
  • Pinch salt

Let’s do this…

Melt the butter and keep it ready for action.

In a steel bowl (or double boiler if you have one) whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice for a few minutes until the mixture is well blended.  (It should pretty much double in volume.)  Then, place the steel bowl over a pot with “just barely” simmering water.  Make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl…

Continue to whisk the living hell out of it… and don’t let the eggs get too hot or they might start to cook.  We are not making scrambled eggs here, okay?   Now, the trick – very slowly, start adding a few drops of the warm butter to the eggs and continue whisking as you go.  This called “tempering” the eggs.  If you were to simply dump all the hot butter into the egg yolks, they would cook.   So, go easy… the critical part is when you first start adding butter to the yolks.

Continue until all the butter is blended with the egg yolks and lemon juice.  It’ll be pretty thick right about now… then, off the heat, add your pinch of cayenne pepper and salt.  Taste it now.  You might add a touch more lemon juice.  I like my sauce a little on the “lemon-y” side.

Hollandaise sauce is known to not hold very well.  If it gets a bit too thick before you’re ready to serve it, just add a few drops of water.

If you’ve never poached eggs before, you can simply use a frying or sauté pan, bring the water to a simmer and carefully drop your eggs into it.  A tablespoon or so of white vinegar will stop the egg whites from falling apart.  Use a slotted spoon to remove them in a few minutes when the whites are cooked and the yolks still nice and soft.  Personally, I use an egg steamer,those things that some people think are called egg poachers.  They are handy because they have the individual egg ”cups” so they come out shapely and uniform… they can’t fall apart.  They come with a lid… water goes underneath… works great, but I always butter the “cups” first so the damn eggs don’t stick!

“Pound ‘er down!”

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