Eggs Benedict

I don’t know if this is “blog worthy” but I am excited.  I’ve never eaten Eggs Benedict before, let alone made them.  I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? I can’t believe it took me so long to try this!

Last weekend, I bought my first ever egg poacher in Jackson, at the Biggest Little Kitchen Store.  (If you ever get a chance to visit the Mother Lode town of Jackson, California – this is a must stop.  You name it, they have it.  Love that little store. And the beautiful drive in the foothills in the spring is not to be missed either!)

All week, I’ve been waiting for Sunday – the one day of the week that I truly have time to make all sorts of special things for my family.  Today I wanted to try Eggs Benedict.  Let me tell you, it is wonderful!  But there is a down side – the kitchen is a mess!  You need several pots, pans, a blender, a toaster and baking sheet for the muffins.  Mess or not, we’re going to have this again – and soon!

Eggs Benedict consists of four layers – a toasted English Muffin, a nice slice of Canadian Bacon or ham, a poached egg and Hollandaise Sauce.  The toast gives a nice crunch.  The ham is sweetly salty, the egg wonderful and the sauce seems to bring everything together.  The recipe below will make 4 Eggs Benedict – perfect for my little poacher in one batch.  You can always double the recipe and poach the eggs in batches.  Just remember to slightly under cook the first batch of eggs so that they don’t over cook while holding in a warm oven.

Hollandaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch fine sea salt
1 pinch white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

To make the sauce, in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk the egg yolks, lemon and lime juice and water constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and continue whisking for about 1 minute more, but remove the pan from the heat as soon as the mixture thickens. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper and blend until smooth. Let cool for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour in the melted butter in a thin stream until incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.

Note: If you don’t want to go to all the bother of making the Hollandaise Sauce from scratch, Knorr’s makes a nice “instant” sauce mix.  Simply whisk the mix with 1 cup of milk and 1/2 a stick of butter over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add a little fresh squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne and that’s it. Keep warm until ready to use.  Although it’s not home-made, this will do nicely in a pinch.

Eggs Benedict
3 tablespoons butter
2 English muffins, split
4 slices baked ham, or Canadian Bacon each 1/4 inch thick and cut to fit English Muffins
4 large eggs

Split English Muffins and place in the toaster to lightly toast.  Once muffins are toasted, place on a baking sheet.  Spread a little butter on each muffin.  Cover with foil and hold in a warm oven until ready to assemble.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the ham and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Keep warm.

Fill an egg-poaching pan with 1/2 inch water, set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lightly brush the poaching cups with a little butter and crack an egg into each cup. Cover and cook until the whites are firm and the yolks are glazed over but still soft, about 3-4 minutes, or until done to your liking.

Place 1 muffin half on each of 4 warmed individual plates. Top each muffin half with a slice of ham, an egg and some of the sauce. Serve immediately.

This is wonderful with some breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit for a light yet satisfying start to a new day.

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