If there is a meal I can't skip, it's breakfast - largely due to the fact that my stomach growls like a wolf. We all know eating a hearty and healthy breakfast helps us perform at our most optimum throughout the day by recharging our brain and body. As the famous saying goes “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dinner like a Beggar”. And the Eggs Benedict is certainly fit for a King or Queen!
Eggs Benedict is one of my favourite brunch items, but yet this is my first ever attempt at making it. Considering the egg needs to be cooked to perfection, I thought this would be a complicated one to master. The ideal poached egg should be as follows: the yolk needs to be enveloped in fully set egg white, and while the yolk should be lightly set around the edge, it needs to run from the centre when you cut into it. It most certainly requires a bit of precision but it’s EASY, fast, and one of the few healthiest ways to consume an egg, provided you leave out the hollandaise sauce ofcourse. Since this is my first time making poached eggs, I went all out and made the fatty, rich hollandaise sauce to pair it with. Having said that, I’ll be just as happy with sprinkling salt and pepper and dunking my toast into the yolk on the regular.
The final result - as my mom put it “oh wow, this is fancy restaurant breakfast” lol!
- Hollandaise Sauce
- egg yolks - 2
- lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- unsalted butter - 3 tablespoons melted
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- paprika - 1/4 teaspoon
- Poached Eggs
- eggs - 3
- white vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- To assemble Eggs Benedict
- bread slices or english muffin - 3 slices
- smoked salmon, ham or bacon - 3 slices (if vegetarian, use avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms or asparagus)
- cilantro - (optional to garnish)
Typically Eggs Benedict are served on half an English muffin, but I used a slice of pumpernickel bread instead. I then layered it with a slice of smoked salmon. Feel free to substitute the smoked salmon with ham or bacon. If you’re a vegetarian, layer the bread with a few slices of avocado and pan seared mushrooms - yum! or even a few pan seared asparagus, then place the poached egg, drizzle it with hollandaise sauce and garnish it with some chopped parsley or cilantro. This is how it’s all done....
In a silver bowl (larger than the pot you will later boil water in), combine two egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and whisk together until it increases in volume. Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter on the side and have it ready.
Set a pot on the stove on high heat, pour in 2 cups of water and boil it, then lower the heat, approximately medium setting - test around until the water is just simmering. Very quickly place the bowl with the egg yolks on top (make sure the water isn’t touching this bowl) and keep whisking fast. While whisking, slowly pour in the melted butter and within a minute remove from heat. Keep whisking, and add a pinch of salt and paprika. Leave aside until you’re ready.
**Please note it’s extremely important that you keep whisking the yolks and that you place the bowl over light simmering water – not boiling. I had to make it twice, because the first time I made it I was under the assumption ‘higher heat = expedited process' and I waited a few seconds before whisking. Big mistake! I ended up with cooked mini egg yolk shreds floating in butter..it was gross. Second time around, I was precise and it turned out lush and creamy.
Now for the Poached Eggs:
You can use the same pot of boiling water you used to make the hollandaise sauce and pour in another two cups of water. The trick is to stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar (this is what helps the egg white solidify, otherwise you'll end up with egg soup). Let the water boil on high heat, then crank down the temperature until the water is just simmering.
Crack an egg into a small ramekin or cup (this way you can ensure you don’t have any eggshells in your poached eggs and you have control over how fast you drop the egg into the water).
Set your timer to exactly 3 and a 1/2 minutes. Take the ramekin close to the water and cautiously but quickly drop the egg into the water. You will notice how the egg will sink to the bottom of the pot and the egg white will look like a disaster at first glance, but it'll start to pull together and float to the top like a fluffy white pillow. Once the first egg formed into shape, I dropped the second egg to the side (they don't mix and become one so long as you're not pouring them in at the very same time).
At the 3 and a 1/2 minute to 4 minute mark gently and cautiously fish out the poached egg with a large slotted spoon allowing for the water to drain out before you place that regal richness on a slice of pumpernickel bread, layered with a slice of smoked salmon and drizzle some of that rich hollandaise sauce. I had some sliced avocados with lemon juice, salt and pepper on the side. Dig in while the egg is hot.
It turned out perfect if I might say so myself! See how the yolk is oozing out! :)