How to Make Eggs Benedict

Three Parts:Making the HollandaiseMaking Eggs BenedictVariations

Eggs Benedict is a classic at Sunday brunch, New Year's morning, or a morning with that special person in your life. The hollandaise sauce can make it or break it. Master that, and you will impress your family or guests with your culinary talent.

Ingredients

Makes 2 servings

  • For the Hollandaise Sauce:
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 tbsp (15mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 stick (½ cup / 115g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    • Salt
    • Cayenne pepper
  • For the Eggs Benedict:
    • 4 slices Canadian bacon
    • 2 English muffins, split
    • 1 tsp (5mL) white vinegar (optional)
    • 4 eggs
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • 3-4 sliced green olives with pimento or black olives
    • Paprika for dusting
    • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Part 1
Making the Hollandaise

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    Melt the butter. Heat the butter in a wide pan, until there are just a couple small pieces of butter left. Remove from heat so it cools while you move on to the next step.[1]
    • If you're feeling extra fancy, clarify the butter by skimming off some or all of the milk solids. Their removal will make the sauce thicker, but less rich.[2] Alternatively, just let these sink to the bottom of the pan, and decide what to do with them when it comes time to pour.
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    Set up a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, just fill a pan about a ⅓ full of water and heat until you see a couple thin streams of bubbles. Place a heat-safe metal or glass bowl snugly on top of the pan, without touching the water. This indirect heat reduces the risk of your sauce burning and separating.
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    Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together. Add four egg yolks and 1 tbsp (15mL) lemon juice to the double boiler. Whisk constantly and vigorously until the mixture becomes frothy and lighter in color, and the whisk leaves trails in the mixture. [3] An experienced chef can achieve this in a minute or two, but 5–10 minutes is common for a first try.
    • Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally as well. Any egg left sitting in place might scramble.
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    Watch for signs of separating. If the egg mixture gets too hot, it will curdle or "split" into solids and liquid. If it starts to feel too hot or steams heavily, pick up the bowl with an oven mitt or towel. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds to cool the eggs down, then return to heat.
    • The first few times you make hollandaise, it can be difficult to identify the right temperature.[4] To play it safe, do this for a few seconds, once a minute.
    • If the mixture starts to curdle, immediately scrape it into another bowl and whisk rapidly with 1 tbsp (15mL) ice water.[5]
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    Add the butter gradually. Pour the butter in a small, steady stream, whisking constantly and vigorously. The sauce should thicken easily at first, then become more difficult to combine. Pour more slowly as this happens, since too much butter can cause the sauce to split.[6] This step can take anywhere from 2–5 minutes.
    • Once you're more experienced, you can add the butter ladle by ladle, or even in two large batches. This risks splitting the sauce, but if you succeed you'll have a faster, airier hollandaise.[7]
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    Adjust the spices and liquids. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper to taste. You may also whisk in a little more lemon juice if you want a tangier flavor. If the sauce is thicker than you prefer, whisk in a little hot water.
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    Keep in a warm place. Until you finish the other ingredients, cover the bowl and place in a warm spot. Cool temperatures may split the sauce.
    • If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Part 2
Making Eggs Benedict

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    Fry Canadian bacon. Heat the Canadian bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown, turning occasionally. Once ready, leave it in the skillet to keep it warm.
    • English back bacon works as well.
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    Toast the English muffins. Cut each English muffin in half and place them on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Butter the cut sides lightly and toast under the broiler until light brown.
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    Bring water to a low simmer. Fill a wide nonstick skillet or shallow pan half full of water. Heat until there are a couple thin streams of bubbles, or until a thermometer reads 160–180ºF (71–82ºC).[8]
    • Optionally, add 1 tsp (5mL) white vinegar to the water. This helps the egg white stay in position instead of separating throughout the water, but this can affect the texture and flavor.[9]
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    Add the eggs. Crack one egg into a small bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Gently lower the edge of the bowl into the water, letting some water flow into the bowl. Tip the bowl to slide the egg slide into the water. Quickly repeat with remaining eggs.
    • If the water has reached a full simmer, "spin" the water once with a spoon to cool it down before adding the egg. Do not do this once an egg is already in the water.
    • If the pan is small, only cook two or three eggs at a time. Eggs that crowd against each other may merge into once mass.
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    Poach the eggs. Cook for 3½ minutes until the egg white is set but the yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain.
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    Put it all together. Place one or two muffin halves on each plate. Lay a slice of bacon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Spoon Hollandaise sauce generously over the eggs. Top with a dusting of paprika and an olive slice or two. Garnish the plate with parsley on the side.

Part 3
Variations

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    Make vegetarian Eggs Florentine. Instead of the bacon, sauté spinach until it wilts, then place that on top of the English muffin. You'll need about 4 cups (960mL) raw spinach for this recipe.
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    Serve with asparagus. Steamed asparagus pairs perfectly with hollandaise sauce. Serve it on the side and drizzle the sauce over the entire plate. Sprinkle with finely chopped basil for more summer flavor.
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    Use American bacon and tomatoes. "Eggs Blackstone" uses crisp, fatty American bacon (streaky bacon) instead of Canadian bacon. Pair this with a slice of raw, juicy tomato between the muffin and the bacon.
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    Replace the meat with smoked salmon. The lemon flavor works wonders with seafood. Complement the salmon even more with a finely chopped handful of dill, mixed into the finished hollandaise sauce.

Things You'll Need

  • Double boiler or pan and heat-safe bowl
  • Whisk
  • Skillet
  • Shallow, wide pan or deep, wide skillet

Tips

  • If your sauce splits and you can't whisk it back into shape, toss it in a blender.[10] It's a pain scraping it out again, but that's better than losing your hollandaise.
  • Use fresh eggs for poaching—the fresher the better. As an egg approaches its use by date, the quality of the egg white degrades and will not look as nice when poached.

Warnings

  • When making the Hollandaise sauce do not let the eggs get too hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs.

Article Info

Categories: Eggs and Dairy