December 14, 2010

Eggs Benedict

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

This was my first challenge with "The Daring Cooks" and I quite enjoyed it. I don't think this is something I would have made on my own and am really looking forward to future challenges.

I used the recipe provided, which is listed below. I've got to say, I was a little intimidated to make it at first, I think just because of the stigma that has surrounded eggs benedict, (poaching eggs and the sauce). It really wasn't that hard and turned out very well if I do say so myself. My pictures didn't turn out as well or as many, as I would have liked due, I think, to the fact that I felt "needlessly" rushed to make sure everything turned out well. The canadian bacon on this is rather well hidden, tucked away out of sight. Oops
Before I started I made sure I had all my ingredients out and prepped, which as you probably know, makes a huge difference. My sauce came together without a hitch. I followed the directions as instructed and it was smooth sailing. Whisk whisk whisk.


EGGS BENEDICT

Ingredients:

4 eggs (size is your choice)
2 English muffins*
4 slices of Canadian bacon/back bacon (or plain bacon if you prefer)
Chives, for garnish
Splash of vinegar (for poaching)
For the hollandaise (makes 1.5 cups):
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp. (5 ml) water
¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces º
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
* for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice
º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine

Directions:
1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.
3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
4. Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
6. Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).
7. Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.
8. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.
9. Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.
10. Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
11. While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin.
12. Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!





The sauce thickened in the 3 minutes indicated in the instructions. Once it was completely done, butter whisked in and melted, I just turned off the flame under the double boiler and put the lid on to keep the sauce warm. It worked out perfectly.

I used a medium size saucepan to poach the eggs adding about 2 tbsp of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. My eggs were perfectly done at just over 3 minutes. Yumm. I didn't have any chives so I substituted with fresh parsley.

Eggs Benedict is something I wouldn't eat often because of the richness but it is delicious for a special occasion. I actually ran across an eggs benedict casserole recipe that has a quick hollandaise sauce that uses 1/2 the butter. You make the casserole then chill it for 8 hours before cooking so it would be great for Christmas morning. All you would have to do that morning is cook it and make the sauce. You could probably even make that the day before too. I believe I'll probably try this soon and I'll let you know if it stands up to the real thing.

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