Eggs benedict, for those who don’t know, isn’t so much a recipe as it is a combining of components made well. After all, that’s the very definition of perfect right? Whoever said that must have been thinking about eggs benedict at the time.
A toasted English muffin. Crisp salty bacon (traditionally ham but you know, bacon). 2 perfectly poached eggs and a slathering of hollandaise sauce, a rich sauce of emulsified butter and egg yolks, sprinkled with paprika and fresh cut chives.
Making a hollandaise is a daunting thing sometimes but is quite easy. You’re able to make it to your taste in terms of consistency. It’s all about watching and knowing what to look for. Using a double boiler, you can take a bowl on and off the heat whilst whisking. Carefully feeling the underside of the bowl to test if it’s too hot or too cool. If you like your sauce a little thicker, then keep it on for a little longer.
Hollandaise sauce uses the egg yolks only. So what do you do with the left over egg whites? Well if you didn’t know, you can freeze them as is. Chuck them into an ice cube tray and when fully frozen, put them in a zip lock back that you can keep adding too. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them in a fridge over night and then leave to rest at room temperature for half an hour. That way they’ll be at their best volume. These are best used in things that need cooking!
What is the key to making a good eggs benedict?
Along with a perfect hollandaise, the key thing to a great eggs benedict is timing. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve got it wrong and my eggs are poached but my bacon isn’t ready. Maybe that’s why it’s traditionally done with ham? Who knows!
One of the most satisfying moments with a good eggs benedict is piercing the egg with a knife and having a runny yolk just ooze through the hollandaise sauce. Such a joy to watch! Akin to cracking the top of a crème brûlée. It’s the simple things in life right?
Finishing the eggs benedict is a matter of taste as with everything! Ground black pepper is enough for some people, but not for me. I like to lightly sprinkle smoked paprika and freshly chopped chives over the top. It adds both gorgeous colours and just a little extra boost in flavour.
So go on, treat yourself to a brilliant way to start the day! Here’s the recipe.
For the Hollandaise
- 2 Eggs Yolks Retain and freeze the whites for other recipes.
- 125 g Salted Butter
- 1/2 tsp White Wine Vinegar just white vinegar is also fine
- Juice of half a lemon
For The Eggs Benedict
- 4 Eggs
- 1 tbsp White wine vinegar just white vinegar is also fine
- 2 English muffins, halfed
- 6 Rashers of Bacon
- Fresh Chives, Chopped
- 1 Pinch Smoked Paprika
- Bring a saute pan filled 2/3 with water to the boil. Add a tbsp of white wine vinegar -Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer.
- Bring a small sauce pan also filled with 2/3 water to the boil, turn the heat down to a simmer.
- Break your eggs and put separately into ramekins, this makes it easier to pour into the saute pan at the right time.
- Stick your bacon under the grill and get that going. Leave space for toasting if using the grill. You'll want to add the muffins about 2 minutes after.
- In a glass heatproof bowl (or metal) add your egg yolks, lemon juice, tsp of white wine vinegar and a splash of ice cold water. Place over the sauce pan and whisk continuously. Remove the bowl from the heat if you feel it is too hot, and back on when you think the bowl has cooled.
- After a minute of whisking or so, remove from the heat for a moment to place your eggs into the saute pan. Place them in order going clockwise so you know which went in first. Turn the heat off the saute pan and put the lid on. Set a timer for 4 minutes. Check and turn your bacon if required. Put your muffins in the toaster or place on the grill with the bacon.
- Return to whisking your hollandaise. Whisk continuously until pale and thick or until your desired consistency. When ready remove from the heat. If all has gone well this should be about the time your eggs are ready too!
- Layer the components starting with the toasted muffins, the bacon (cut 2 slices in half so each muffin half has 1.5 rashers of bacon) then the eggs.
- spoon your hollandaise sauce over the eggs
- garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and fresh chopped chives.