January 28, 2010
I love going out for breakfast. Or brunch. There's nothing better than having a big night out full of fun and silliness, rolling out bed the next morning feeling rather average and ordering a greasy breakfast and coffee to try and make it all better. Admittedly it's been a very long time since I've been in that situation, but I remember it fondly. These days it's more of a luxury, Austen's woken us up early and we can't be bothered sorting out breakfast at home so we go out for Eggs Benedict.
Eggs Benedict originated in the Walford Hotel, New York by an banker called Lemuel Benedict who was trying to find a cure for his hangover. Toasted English muffins with sliced ham or bacon, poached eggs topped of with Hollandaise. If you don't know this dish or haven't had the honour, do yourself a favour - take a loved one out for breakfast and order it and enjoy! I think you need to taste a good one before you attempt this in your own kitchen at home as the Hollandaise is all about a specific flavour. Its a hard one to order as it's done wrong far too often. Revolting Hollandaise or big thick slices of bread or accompaniments that don't belong. Ask around who does a good Eggs Benedict locally.
For those of us who are Eggs Benedict connoisseur's, try this at home and see how you go. I was shown how to make this by a wonderful friend of mine, Hannah, who is a very good in the kitchen. I have since made it myself and it's taken me a few attempts to get it just right.
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup of vinegar
Start by making the wine reduction which carries the flavour in the Hollandaise. Place all the above ingredients in a small pan and allow to simmer and bubble till it reduces by half and set aside.
8 egg whites
Approx 1 tbs wine reduction
Apprx 1 tbs water
250g butter, melted
salt and pepper
You will need to set up a bain marie. I put a small pan of water onto boil. As it comes to the boil turn it down to a simmer - small bubbles - and place a bowl over the top, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. In the bowl you will have 8 eggs with the wine reduction and water and you need to whisk constantly till they reach ribbon stage. Very slowly pour the melted butter into the bowl continuing to whisk till nice and glossy and thick. Now taste it. It could be just right. If not add salt, pepper, tabasco or lemon till you get the flavour of your liking.
4 English muffins
Ham or bacon (cooked till crispy) or steamed spinach
Poach the eggs.
Toast the muffins.
Fry the bacon if you are using.
Place the toasted muffins on a plate, cover with a couple of pieces of ham, bacon or spinach, next comes a poached egg and finally top with your gorgeous Hollandaise and serve!
Note - whilst you are assembling and poaching, keep the Hollandaise near the stove so it keeps slightly warm.