The timing for this challenge could not have been better. I had already decided to make Eggs Benedict a personal challenge for the Winter, having never attempted Hollandaise sauce, and having never successfully poached an egg. It was destiny.
I am a fanatic when it comes to Eggs Benedict. I crave them. When I crave the Bennies, I get cranky when I don’t have one. I’ve posted about my love for Bennies before, and you can see that I enjoy many variations on the dish. In fact, I’ve only ever had “real” Eggs Benedict three times – and two of those times were just last weekend. My eating meat has been a recent development, and even still I tend to pick the meatless options instead.
In all of the years of eating various Bennies, I never really knew what Hollandaise was supposed to be like. Not to sound high on my cooking skills, but after going through the process of making it myself, I think I now know how it should be. I think mine was a little thin, but the flavour was right. And now I point my fingers at you, *namelessrestaurant*, who make salty, gloopy Hollandaise that tastes like chicken stock. Tsk, tsk, in your general direction.
The Hollandaise was tedious, but not difficult. I was so worried it would break, but it stayed together. If you haven’t had it before, it has a pretty delicate flavour with a light lemoniness. I added a few spices to mine, too, and thought they were a great addition. I was scared by the amount of butter required, but told myself that challenge recipes are worth adding that much butter to! Also, I probably could have halved the Hollandaise recipe.
The bigger scare came from the egg poaching. I had never been able to poach an egg before. My previous attempt, many years ago, resulted in a poached egg yolk with a thin layer of white around it. FAIL! This time, I made sure to get fresh eggs, looked up all sorts of tips and tricks and used the most scientific method in the book – I held my breath. That usually works, right? The eggs came out great. Once I got past that step, I was thrilled and assembled my stacks full of anticipation for the meal to come.
We love brunch.
I was really happy with the way these turned out. While I love to go out for brunch, there are times you just want to stay home and have a nice meal. It’s a great way to save money – and stay warm at home on a cold Winter day. I probably won’t make this every weekend, but I do plan to make them again. I think next time I’ll have to try making something like the crab Bennies we had at Dr. Generosity’s. Soooo good!
P.S. On an unrelated note, this is the 100th post on stephfood.com! I thought that when I got to this point, I’d make a post all about it, but I just have too many fun things to post about right now. I guess I’ll save the sentiment for the 1 year anniversary, at the end of January. Until then, let’s raise a glass of Hollandaise!
Blog-checking lines: Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
Recipe after the jump!
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups spinach, sautéed
- Vinegar or lemon juice (I used 1 tablespoon lemon juice for a wide, deep sauté pan. You may need more if your pan is larger.)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature – the fresher the better
- 2 English muffins*
- 1 cup Hollandaise sauce (please see this recipe for best stage to make Hollandaise)
- Chives, for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
- Gruyere, for garnish (optional)
- * for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice
- Sautée mushrooms and spinach, separately, and set aside. Keep warm, while preparing the hollandaise and poaching the eggs.
- Prepare Hollandaise sauce as per the recipe below.
- The pan used to simmer the water for the Hollandaise sauce can be used for poaching the eggs. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer. Bring the water to a temperature of about 160 to 180ºF (71-82ºC ). (I used a candy thermometer to measure the temperature).
- While waiting for the water to reach temperature, carefully crack the eggs into four separate small bowls. If the yolk breaks at any time, discard the egg and use another one.
- Add vinegar or lemon juice to the simmering water.
- Gently lower the first bowl of egg into the water, allowing the egg to move into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs, making sure the egg next to it has taken some form, so they don’t overlap. (I chose to add eggs across from each other to avoid overlapping).
- Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
- While waiting for the eggs, toast your English muffins.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the poached eggs, drain well for about 15 seconds. Serve immediately.
- Top each half of English muffin with some sautéed spinach, then sautéed mushrooms. Transfer the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the mushrooms.
- Top with hollandaise, shaved Gruyere, fresh ground black pepper and chopped chives.
Some Additional Tips:
- You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.
Makes about 2 cups of Hollandaise. I needed about 1 cup for the above Eggs Benedict recipe, so I think this recipe could easily be cut in half, possibly into thirds.
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) water
- ¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
- 12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces º
- ½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
- 2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- Pinch dried ground chipotle pepper (optional)
º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
- Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, chipotle pepper and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.