I read just the other day about some study “they” did that says people who take pictures of their food and post the pictures on social media MAY have a mental problem… well I am about to prove that I MAY have this problem, dinner tonight was special, something I haven’t made since we moved off grid over 5 years ago now. Eggs Benedict. I used to make this at least once a month. I wondered if the altitude might be a problem, it sometimes works against me, and sometimes a dish does not work out at all.
Fortunately altitude didn’t seem to be a problem on this meal. Traditional Eggs Benedict use English muffins and Canadian bacon, neither of which I had on hand, I could have made homemade English muffins, but there wasn’t enough time to do that this time. I toasted 4 slices of bread with butter, for the meat I used some thin sliced ham and roast beef, the kind you get for making sandwiches, I also used a few slices of precooked bacon.
The eggs, let me tell you about the eggs I used, we have several different friends who have way more chickens than they really needed, these chickens are good layers, so we get lots of fresh eggs, these make the grocery store eggs look anemic, pale and thin. You will need the freshest eggs possible, older eggs tend to have thinner whites, you will want the whites to hold up in the simmering water when you poach them. OK, so after I toasted the bread in a skillet with some butter, I started on the Hollandaise sauce. I separated 4 eggs, saving the whites to make something else. On a double boiler, I melted a whole stick of butter and poured the melted butter into a separate bowl, I skimmed the white foam from the butter and discarded it. To the yolks I added some salt, a little water, some Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of vinegar, a dash of lemon powder and some ground pepper.
I whisked the egg yolks along with the other ingredients until blended (without the butter), then I poured it into the double boiler set of medium heat, I whisked as I slowly added the melted butter. I continually whisked as I added the butter a little at a time until the whole thing began to thicken. Once it was as thick as I wanted it to be I took the top pan off of the bottom pan with the boiling water and set it aside.
Meanwhile, I had started a large pan of water to boil, then I turned down the heat, it only needs to barely simmer. I added some vinegar to the water, cracked each egg into its own bowl, I used 4 eggs, I gently added the eggs into the water and allowed the eggs to poach for about 4-5 minutes, I wanted the yolk to remain runny, I could have cut a minute off of the cooking time, the yolks were beginning to solidify, but fortunately there was enough runny yolk to make this perfect.
I laid 2 pieces of toast on a plate, piled the meat on top, put the poached egg on top of that, then ladled the Hollandaise sauce over the whole thing, I stopped long enough to snap a few pictures then devoured the meal! Here is how it turned out, the picture above is a stock photo, this is how mine looked, too bad you can’t taste them!
I’m not a food photographer, especially when it’s dark and my “table” is really my laptop, I promise you it turned out fantastic! I’ll attempt to write out a proper recipe here, I rarely if ever follow recipes, I MIGHT look at one if I have never made the dish before, just to get an idea of how it needs to go, then I just cook by the seat of my pants.
Eggs Benedict ala Wretha
4 slices of bread (toasted and buttered)
8 fresh eggs
4 slices each of thinly sliced ham, roast beef and precooked bacon
1 stick butter, melted (do NOT use margarine)
pinch of salt
pinch of black or white pepper
Worcestershire sauce, dash
dash of lemon juice (I used lemon powder)
Toast the bread, set aside, in a double boiler (do not let the water touch the top pan) melt the butter, then pour it into a separate bowl, skim the white foam from the melted butter, discard the foam. Start another large pan of water going for the poached eggs, the water should be about 3 inches deep and there should be enough room in the pan for all 4 eggs to cook.
Separate 4 eggs, the whites can be saved for another dish or discarded or used as a facial. Whisk the egg yolks with a few drops of vinegar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and a few tablespoons of water. Once well mixed, pour this into the double boiler, whisking the whole time, add the melted butter a few tablespoons at a time whisking well between additions. Once you have all the butter incorporated, keep whisking until the mixture starts to thicken, it’s ready when it will coat the back of a spoon, remove the top pan from the bottom pan (and hot water) and set aside.
Your poaching water should be boiling by now, turn down the heat, you want a simmer, not a rapid boil, add about a quarter cup of vinegar to the simmering water. Next crack each egg into a separate bowl, if you break the yolk, discard that one and get another. Carefully pour each egg into the simmering water. Simmer the eggs for about 4 minutes, with a slotted spoon, carefully remove each poached egg and place it on top of the toast and meat. Now ladle the Hollandaise sauce over the top and serve immediately. You can garnish with parsley, or sprinkle some paprika on it.
You will notice this makes a lot of Hollandaise sauce, that’s how I like it, yes it is a rich dish, not one you have all the time, it’s meant as a special meal, whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, it is a meal to please! Of course you can use the more traditional ingredients, such as real English muffins and Canadian bacon, but if you don’t have these in the kitchen, you can easily substitute like I did, use what you have and enjoy eating instead of worrying about replaced ingredients…
One thing I didn’t have was fresh lemons, that is preferable, but I don’t often have lemons around, I found a great substitute, I hate calling it a substitute because it is made from real lemons, in fact that is what they call it, I call it lemon powder and it works great in anything where you would use lemon juice, it’s much better than the lemon juice that comes in those plastic lemons.
Have you eaten Eggs Benedict? Have you ever made it yourself?
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