Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eggs Benedict

Some recipes look great until you try them and learn the hard way that all was not as promised. I experimented with a recipe that proposed a method to do Eggs Benedict without poaching and to present the dish in a ramekin. It sounded like yumminess in a bowl, but it was wrong, wrong wrong.

     I won't bother to elaborate the errors I discovered. Suffice it to say, shortcuts are not my friend. This is especially true when working with ingredients that do not do well when cooked for the same time and at the same temp.

     I liked the presentation, though. Below you'll find a variation on Eggs Benedict, one that avoids the hard eggs and chewy muffin that I endured.

Eggs Benedict

4 servings of two Eggs Benedict per guest

For the Hollandaise
4 egg yolks
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch Cayenne pepper

For the rest
4 english muffins
8 eggs
5 ounces baby spinach
8 slices thick cut bacon
Chives, chopped, for garnish

For the Hollandaise
1. Clarify the butter in a saucepan.

2. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks, water and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened.

3. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing 2" of barely simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

4. Continue to whisk rapidly for about 3 1/2 minutes. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.

5. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened. This may take several minutes (about 7 or 8), so be prepared for a serious workout. You will know the sauce is thick enough when ribbons form when the sauce drips from the whisk back into the bowl.

6. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Reserve Hollandaise by placing plastic wrap on top of the sauce and placing the container in a bowl full of hot water. You can also keep the Hollandaise warm by pouring it into a thermos.

For the rest
1. Cook the bacon, then coarsely chop. Reserve.

2. In a sauce pan with a steamer, wilt the spinach and reserve.

3. Fry the eggs in the bacon grease.

4. Toast the English muffins.

5. For service, plate English muffin half at the bottom of a large ramekin. Add spinach, then the egg, then bacon, the hollandaise and garnish with chopped chives.

Guests may eat out of the ramekins while others may wish to slide the Eggs Benedict out onto their plate.