Saturday, April 14, 2012
Eggs Benedict- Step by Step
Brunch is the best meal ever. Some people may disagree with me, but in my opinion, it's the perfect excuse to go all out and create a fabulous mid morning meal. And many people feel the same way, which has why brunch has evolved into an event-- a time to meet up with friends and family on the weekends, catch up and relax. It is not too early, so you can sleep in, and not to late, so you can do other stuff during your days off.
This weekend was particularly special because all of the kids headed over to the island for the weekend (Victoria) to visit our parents and celebrate my mom's birthday. So of course, we had to make her something amazing. We wanted to serve her a restaurant style brunch in the comfort of our family home. And what better dish than an eggs benedict.
Yes, it may seem daunting because of the many components and the stresses of making the perfect hollandaise, poaching the eggs just right and timing it all to come together on a plate. But it really is easier than you may think. And the results are sure to impress!
For the Hollandaise
3 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Unsalted Butter, melted cooled so it is not scalding
1 Large Bag Baby Spinach
2 slices Black Forest ham, thick cut then cut into quarters (each piece should be the size of an english muffin and about 1/2 cm thick)
1 tbsp White Vinegar
4 English Muffins
Salt and Pepper
Ensure all ingredients are ready.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place a pot of water on the stove to boil (the pot should be one that you can place a bowl over to make the hollandaise. Fill water until it reaches about 1 inch from the bottom of the bowl when set on top)
Fill a large bowl with very cold water and set aside
Step 1: Sautee the spinach and cook the ham
Heat about 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer to an oven proof dish. Set aside
In the same pan, heat another tsp of olive oil. Add the ham slices and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Set aside
Step 2: Make the hollandaise sauce
Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl with the mustard and fresh lemon juice. Whisk well. Create a double boiler by reducing the heat of the boiling water to medium-low (should be simmering). Place the stainless steel bowl on top of the double boiler and whisk constantly until the yolks are fluffy and yellow. Slowly whisk in the cup of melted butter by pouring it slowly into the egg mixture and whisking, moving the bowl on and off the heat of the double boiler to thicken the sauce and keep it warm without cooking it. If you feel that the eggs are about to scramble, keep whisking and pull the bowl off the heat. Once all the butter has been incorporated, you should have a thick, yellow sauce that is warm. Set aside.
Step 3: Pre-poach the eggs
The pot that you used for the double boiler should still be simmering on medium-low heat. Ensure that there is at least 3-4 inches of water in the pot. Add vinegar. Crack the eggs into individual bowls and slowly slide the eggs into the simmering water (you may have to do this in batches). Now, here is the trick for poaching so many eggs perfectly. We are going to pre-poach all of them and cool them. Then reheat them when we are ready to serve. (If you are only cooking a few eggs, you don't need to do this).
Cook the eggs until the whites are just set and the yolks are still very very soft (1-2 minutes). Pull the eggs out of the water and place in the bowl of ice cold water. This will stop the eggs from cooking. Poach the rest of the eggs and cool in cold water. Set aside
Step 4: Toast the muffins and get everything ready
Place the separated english muffins onto a baking sheet and into the oven to toast. Place the oven proof dish with the ham and spinach into the oven also to warm up. Place the bowl of hollandaise over the egg poaching water (which is still over medium low heat) to warm up. Ensure you keep whisking. When warm, remove from heat.
Step 5: Put it all together
Once the muffins are toasted and the spinach and ham are warm, pull out of the oven. Place all the eggs back into the poaching liquid (yes, still over medium low heat) to warm up. Place a slice of ham and some spinach on each half of english muffin. When the eggs are warm (about 1-2 minutes), please 1 egg on each muffin. Top with a dollop of hollandaise sauce. Garnish with some fresh cracked pepper.
I know this seems like a lot of steps, but once you get the rhythm, it is very easy to do and I am sure you will enjoy many fantastic brunches with eggs benedict!