A well-made, classic Eggs Benedict is like rolling out the red carpet for your palate. It's a dish that's all about a mingling of tastes and the interplay of textures—from crisp to oozy, from slippery to chewy.
Contrary to its appearance, Eggs Benedict is of New York origin, not France, although the recipe includes one of the five Mother Sauces of French cuisine: Hollandaise. The first appearance of the recipe goes back as far as 1860, although another claim in 1894 contends it is the first.
The original recipe calls for a split, toasted English muffin; ham or bacon; a poached egg; and Hollandaise. In more recent years, Canadian-style or peameal bacon has become the de facto choice.
The basic formula is all about layering, and by changing up any of the layers, you modify the dish's very soul: substitute country sausage gravy for Hollandaise, or smoked salmon for the bacon, or buttermilk biscuits for English muffins. Search the name Eggs Benedict and you will find hundreds of variations to the original theme.
And Eggs Benedict isn't just for breakfast or brunch anymore. Add a salad or some asparagus or broccoli which pair nicely with the Hollandaise
Here's the Lobel's recipe version of Eggs Benedict, a robustly flavored ham slice is substituted for the mildly flavored and leaner Canadian bacon slice.
And remember: Because of the weekend, income-tax day 2019 falls on the same day as National Eggs Benedict Day (Tuesday, April 16). So make yourself some Eggs Benedict to celebrate if you are getting a return and to save your soul if you're not.
Cooking Method: Poaching
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Saute the ham slices in sizzling butter for a few seconds on each side. Place ham slices on top of toasted English muffins.
- Make Hollandaise sauce. (See linked recipe.)
- Poach eggs by adding salt and white wine vinegar to boiling water, then reduce to a simmer and introduce the eggs gradually—breaking each onto a saucer and sliding it into the water. When the whites are firm, remove eggs with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
- Place the eggs on top of the ham and muffin and cover them with Hollandaise Sauce.
The classic embellishment for this dish is a slice or two of truffles. Of course, these have become so expensive that even fine restaurants often do not use them.
Serve with asparagus, which will go nicely with any of the Hollandaise Sauce that seeps over from the eggs, and a glass of dry white wine.
Have you mastered making Hollandaise Sauce? What's your favorite recipe variation? What about English muffin substitutions?