Eggs Benedict is such an indulgent weekend treat, perfect for a lazy brunch. And treat is the important word, you can’t eat this kind of food everyday! The dish is made up of a toasted buttery breakfast muffin topped with ham or bacon, a perfectly soft poached egg and covered by a buttery hollandaise sauce.
I personally like to use a wafer thin style smoked ham. You can substitute the ham with spinach for Eggs Florentine or use smoked salmon.
I am not going to give a definitive guide to poaching eggs. I have tried several different ways of doing it, but to be honest I find the easiest way to do it is to pour a small drop of white wine vinegar into a pot of salted simmering water and drop the egg in carefully, described below. If you look on Youtube there are loads of videos that show different methods of cooking poached eggs, some involving swirling the water, some with putting the eggs in clingfilm first, others using special poaching pods. Do whatever works for you.
Also, this method for making hollandaise sauce is a bit of a cheats way. But it works! I have cooked this sauce the proper way over a bain marie and adding cubes of cold butter and it has always curdled on me by the time I go to serve it. This method of cooking in a blender has never failed me and makes the sauce quite light.
- For the hollandaise sauce:
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g melted unsalted butter kept warm
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 toasted and buttered English breakfast muffins
- Slices of cooked ham
- 4 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- Small drop of white wine vinegar
- Cracked black pepper
- Start by boiling the kettle and then melting the butter for your hollandaise sauce.
- Once the butter is melted set aside but make sure to keep it warm.
- Put the 2 egg yolks with the water and lemon juice into your blender and whizz them up until you have a smooth mixture.
- Very slowly pour the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture. You will see it gradually thicken to a pale yellow, creamy sauce. When you have reached the proper consistency, taste and add the salt and pepper as needed. You can also add the cayenne pepper now if you are using it. Set the sauce aside.
- Half and toast your muffins. Butter them and add the ham. I put them in a low oven to keep them warm while I focus completely on the eggs at this stage.
- Pour the water from your kettle into a wide pan, add the salt and white wine vinegar.
- Have 2 of your eggs already cracked into separate cups/small bowls. When the water in the pan is simmering with plenty of bubbles on the bottom of the pan, pour the eggs into the water.
- Allow them to simmer for 3-4 minutes or until you can see that the whites are cooked through. Remove one egg at a time with a slotted spoon and rest the spoon on kitchen paper to drain the water from the egg. Place each egg on a ham topped-muffin. You can put it back into the low oven while you make the second batch or top with a spoonful of hollandaise sauce and serve immediately.
- Repeat for the second serving. Top with cracked black pepper or freshly snipped chives.
Enjoy…and then go for a brisk walk to ease the guilt!