To observe both Pope Benedict’s Birthday and National Eggs Benedict Day (coincidence?) I made… wait for it… Eggs Benedict. Thank you to the few, you happy few, who sent donations for groceries. I thought of you as I shopped and cooked.
The main ingredients: room-temperature farm-fresh eggs, English muffin, clarified butter, Canadian bacon, lemon. You don’t have to use clarified butter. As a matter of fact, the milk fat in unclarified butter can be a plus! I just wanted to use up the clarified butter I had. FYI: clarified butter has a higher burn point, around 450F, and so it can be useful when frying or sauté.
I gently warmed the bacon in the clarified butter. Don’t treat this stuff like regular bacon or it turns into something like a pub coaster.
Hollandaise sauce begins with egg yolks and a tiny bit of cold water, beaten with a wire or plastic whip in a pan or bowl or pot that can be placed on top of a pot of boiling water. Beat the eggs up so that they froth and increase in volume.
Place your pan with the beaten frothy eggs over your briskly bubbling pot of water and keep beating. It can be handy to have a bowl of cold water near the stove. If your pot gets too warm and the eggs look as if they are going to scramble set the pan, bowl, etc. into the cold water. The idea with a double-boiler set up is control of the heat so that your eggs don’t just scramble on you.
Be ready to move your container with the eggs off from the steam frequently. Control that temp!
Begin adding unsalted butter. You can use soft butter or clarified. I had some clarified on hand so I used that.
As you beat the butter into the eggs, a little at a time, the combination will emulsify and become velvety.
When the consistency is about right, and you will know when it is, or maybe just a little tighter than you think a sauce should be, season with lemon juice (which will loosen it up again), pepper (white is better – I didn’t have any) and even a pinch of cayenne pepper. Beat it together thoroughly. You can keep your sauce on hand for only a short time. I don’t recommend more than about 20 minutes. Once that sauce is done, keep it warm, not hot, or it may “break” and separate or clot. You can revive it with a touch of water.
I use a water temp of around 170-180F for 3 minutes. Do NOT boil the water. The higher (not boiling) temp and putting a little vinegar in the water helps the whites stay together.
Try to compress the time between completing the Hollandaise and starting the eggs a’poachin’. Lift them out with a slotted spoon. It helps to have some paper towel on hand to dab and soak up water from off and from around the eggs.
Assemble. I like English muffins well-toasted. Thanks to reader KA for the toaster from my amazon wish list, btw. I now toast, rather than incinerate, in style.
You will usually see the bacon go onto the muffin first, then the egg, topped with sauce. I put a slice beneath and above so you could see it better. The visual is important!
I made some fried potatoes.
I added the chives to annoy liberals. Come to think of it they also annoy some traddies. Liberals and the really hardcore traddies can be alike in many ways, mirabile scriptu. Whenever I post about even rather simple meals – made to look nice with the application of sprigs of “personality” – I inevitably get hate mail. A chive placed at an angle seems to just set them off…. to my joy! A little touch of “personality” on a plate of even very simple fare – and Eggs Benedict is very simple fare – can go a long way to demonstrating respect for the process, for the ingredients which God provides, and for the people to whom you serve your food.
Other than the friend potatoes, which I started way in advance, this whole thing should take about 15 minutes if you prep your space and get the water going ahead of time and get everything set up, that whole mise en place thing.
And so I made, and ate, Eggs Benedict yesterday evening, probably sending them straight to my LAD.
As I ate I wished His Holiness a happy birthday and then I amused myself for the balance of the meal with charts of amateur radio bands.