Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Eggs Benedict

Who's Benedict and why are there eggs named in his/her honor?  The story might surprise you.

There are two conflicting accounts as to the origin of Eggs Benedict.  In a New Yorker article in 1942, a retired Wall Street stock broker named, Lemuel Benedict claimed that he had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and, hoping to find a cure for his hangover, ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a "hooker" of hollandaise.  The Hotel cook was so impressed with the dish, that he put it on the breakfast and lunch menu, but substituted ham for the bacon and toasted an English muffin instead of toast.

The other story revolves around Pope Benedict XII who was so fond of a particular egg dish, that he requested it often thus, claimed the naming rights (althought there is no reference to a sauce or toast or English muffins).

I say old Lemuel has the honor of the naming rights (his story is much more colorful)!

There are numerous variations of Eggs Benedict including, Eggs Florentine (spinach instead of ham), Eggs Mornay (cheese sauce instead of Hollandaise) and Irish Benedict (substitute corned beef for ham).

It's one of my all time favorites and quite easy to make (if you have the extra time on Sunday morning).


Eggs Benedict


2 tsp. white wine vinegar
8 large eggs
2 Tbs. butter, softened
4 English muffins, split in half
Eight rounds of Canadian bacon (feel free to use regular bacon if desired)

Basic Hollandaise Sauce 

4 large egg yolks
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
6 oz. butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne (optional)


To make sauce:  Position a large heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.  In the bowl, whisk the yolks, lemon juice, and mustard until well combined.  Gradually whisk in the butter in a thin stream and keep whisking until sauce thickens (about 1-2 minutes).  If the sauce becomes too thick, add a few drops of hot water to thin it out.

Whisk in the cayenne if using and season to taste with salt.  Keep the sauce warm in its bowl set over the simmering water until ready to serve.

For the Eggs:   If you don't know how to poach an egg, watch this video!!

After the eggs are poached, set them aside on a warm paper towel-lined plate.

Toast and butter the muffin halves.

Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat and cook 4 slices of Canadian bacon, turning once until heated through.  Transfer to a plate and cook remaining slices.

To serve, put two muffin halves on a warm plate, top each with a slice of the bacon and a poached egg, and spoon over about 1/4 cup sauce.

Video courtesy of YouTube
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, thanks for image too!