If you have read any of my ‘un-categorized’ trip reports to Sacramento or Seattle, you will know that I like Eggs Benedict. So I decided I had to learn how to make them myself. It isn’t horribly difficult, especially if you deconstruct them into their four layers. Once you do that, it is easy to make them a team effort, with each person taking on one or more of the layers.
The bottom layer of the Bennie is normally a half of an English muffin; I say normally because we have seen it as other things. Specifically, in Sacramento it was a waffle. For this layer, choose something that will soak up the runny egg yolk and extra Hollandais sauce. I have tried regular toast, and I could also see something like mashed potatoes.
The next layer up is where most of the experimenting happens. Normally, I think of this layer as the meat layer, and my favorite is crunchy bacon, but it is often ham or Canadian bacon. Again, I have seen this layer be non-meat such as avocado, or sliced tomato, or a combination of two or more things. I found that using a slice of tomato made stacking the layers more difficult and would not recommend that for the first couple times. Then, I would seed the tomato and might not use a slice, but would use pieces from the body of the tomato.
The third layer is the poached egg. Making poached eggs is time consuming only because it takes a large amount of simmering water, and it takes time to get the water that hot. If you are doing the classic poached eggs, then start the water heating early so you aren’t stuck waiting on it. I will also describe an alternative to the classic poaching that will save time and do the job nicely. Look below for my skillet steamed eggs.
Finally, the top layer of the bennies is the Hollandais sauce. I will give you the blender method for making it rather than the classic whisking method- it is too much work.
The Hollandais recipe makes enough sauce for four to six eggs; if you have fewer eggs/stacks, then you have sauce to use on broccoli or cauliflower. Sadly, Hollandais sauce does not reheat and smooth out well once it is refrigerated; you can do it, but it is not simple so I have always used my left over sauce more like butter that has just come from the refrigerator and is hard and doesn’t spread well.
Split and toast enough English muffins so that there is one half muffin for each stack /egg.
Most muffins are now coming partially split and only need to be pulled apart.
Cook 3 slices of bacon for each full English muffin being used. The bacon pieces are then cut in half so that each half muffin has 3 half pieces arranged on it for layer two.
I like to cook my bacon in the microwave. On a dinner plate, I layer three paper towels, then the bacon, and finally another three paper towels to catch any splatters. Then I nuke the plate of towels and bacon for 1 minute per piece of bacon, plus one final minute. Careful! The plate is hot coming out of the microwave!
The classic way starts with a sauce pan or skillet 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep. Fill with about 2 inches of water, and add a tablespoon of vinegar for each quart of water. Bring to a simmer.
Break one of the eggs and holding it close to the water, let it fall in. Immediately and gently push the white over the yolk with a wooden spoon for a couple seconds. Keep the water at a low simmer and repeat for all the eggs.
After 4 minutes, remove the first egg with a skimmer or slotted spoon and place it in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and wash off the vinegar. Remove the rest of the eggs in a similar manner.
Remove the eggs from the cold water and place on the first two layers of the Eggs Benedicts.
Layer Four- the Hollandais Sauce
In the bowl of a blender, place three egg yolks, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper.
In a small sauce pan, place 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter and heat it to foaming hot.
Put the top on the blender and run it at top speed for a couple seconds. Then start pouring the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. You do not need to use the milky residue in the bottom of the butter pan.
Immediately, pour the sauce into a shorter, more open container so that it is easier to access and spoon out. The butter is difficult to get out of the blender once it has cooled.
Starting to sauce the Bennies.
Skillet Steamed Eggs
This technique requires an 8 to 10 inch skillet with a clear lid that fits closely.
Break the eggs into the skillet as if you are going to fry the eggs sunny side up.
Turn on the stove, add about 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and place the lid on.
Watch the eggs cook, and the steaming water will condense on the lid. The eggs are cooked when the yellow of the yolks is covered with a light coating of white.