Classic Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict- toasted muffins, ham, poached eggs, and deliciousEggs Benedict is the ultimate brunch dish — toasted and buttered English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and finished with a silky hollandaise. And there are many variations on a theme — substitute the bacon with a slice of ham, a crab cake or piece of poached salmon; add a slice of tomato or a spoonful of cooked, drained spinach. Don’t have English muffins on hand? Toast a slice of brioche or sourdough, or cut a croissant in half and toast.

If you’ve never made a hollandaise sauce, watch this video from Fine Cooking.

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
8 fresh large eggs (important)*
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
4 English muffins, split in half
Eight 1/4-inch-thick rounds of Canadian bacon (or ham)
1 recipe Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)
Pinch of paprika, for garnish (optional)
Thinly sliced fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

METHOD:

Using a 10- to 12-inch skillet, add enough water until to fill pan three-quarters full. Add the vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.

Carefully break eggs into the water around the edge of the skillet, which will help keep the eggs together. (Alternately, break an egg into a ramekin and then add egg to water.)

Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the eggs are just set, about 3 minutes; the yolks should still be runny. (Or, add the eggs to the simmering water, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let them sit for 4 to 5 minutes.) Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a warm paper-towel-lined plate. Trim any feathery edges.

Toast and butter the English muffin halves.

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook four slices of the bacon, flipping once, until heated through and browned in spots, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with the remaining slices.

To Assemble:
Place two muffin halves on a warm plate. Top each half with a slice of the bacon and a poached egg, and spoon over about 1/4 cup of the hollandaise sauce.

Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and chives, if using. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

*Be sure to use the freshest eggs possible — older eggs have runny whites and will not poach well.

Hollandaise Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne or a few drops of hot pepper sauce
Kosher salt

METHOD:

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 until well combined.

Gradually whisk in the butter in a thin stream and keep whisking until the sauce is thick enough for the whisk to leave tracks that hold for a couple of seconds, 1 to 2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of hot water to thin it.

Whisk in the cayenne or hot sauce and season to taste with salt. To keep sauce warm, set the bowl over hot water, whisking occasionally, until ready to use.

VARIATIONS:

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon — substitute the Canadian bacon with smoked salmon. Sir in a tablespoon of chopped fresh dill into hollandaise sauce, and garnish top with a few capers.

Eggs Benedict Florentine — sauté fresh spinach with a dab of butter until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Place on toasted English muffin or sourdough bread, and top with poached eggs and hollandaise.

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