Sometimes food is love (Have I said this before? Probably). Over the course of many family Sunday brunches, I learned to make eggs Benedict from my mother, and just recently I made it as an off-to-college sendoff for a friend. I am not sure I would have had the courage to try and then master it if I had not watched her so many times. I have always wanted to make it with crab cakes but haven’t gotten to that yet.
- 4 English muffins*, split, buttered and toasted
- 8 slices of ham, Canadian bacon or smoked salmon
- 8 large eggs, poached
- 1 recipe Hollandaise sauce (see previous post)
- 1 bunch asparagus, steamed or grilled (optional)
*Note: I find that Thomas’ English muffins are too tough to use in this recipe – it’s nearly impossible to cut through them even with a sharp knife. I prefer Bay’s or Pepperidge Farm, or Portugese sweetbread muffins.
This is really more of a process than a recipe – the trick is to have everything fresh and hot when you assemble the plates. We usually make this for a crowd and I enlist someone to help keep the assembly line moving – the best way is to have one person devoted just to poaching the eggs.
If it’s summertime, I grill the ham and asparagus ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven or under foil. Warm the sauce.
In a large pasta pot, heat water to a rolling boil – add a splash of white vinegar to help the eggs hold together during poaching. If you have an egg poaching pan, make sure the cuts are buttered a bit to keep the eggs from sticking (even if it’s a non-stick pan). If you are new to egg poaching, or even if you’re not, it’s helpful to crack the eggs into a ramekin first and then placing them in the poacher/water. Poach the eggs two at a time – keeping them away from each other in the water. It’s hard to instruct how long to cook them – it depends on how you like your eggs and how hot the water is – it’s just something you learn through trial and error – after the first minute or so just keep lifting the eggs out periodically until you think they are done.
Meanwhile, butter the English muffins and put them on a broiling pan and heat them under the broiler until lightly brown.
Assemble the Benedict: muffin, meat, asparagus (if using), egg, sauce.
Serve with more asparagus, hashed browns or roasted potatoes, fruit salad and Bloody Marys. And coffee. Lots of coffee.