To me, what makes or breaks a good egg benedict is the hollandaise sauce. A good hollandaise sauce cannot be too cold, or to hot. It has to be just right to pull the whole dish together.
Hollandaise is an egg sauce derived from one of the seven mother sauces in classical French cuisine. It should be light and frothy like chiffon, lemony, well seasoned, and the colour of a newly ripe banana. It should run over the eggs gracefully and not stick to on top or coagulate. For its flavour, you want to taste butter first, then yolk. Sinful but so yummy.
Ingredients (Makes 8 eggs benedict)
Hollandaise Sauce (Makes 8 - 10 servings)
1 block unsalted butter (250g)
4 large egg yolks
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
A pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
A pinch ground white pepper
2 tbsp salt, plus a pinch
2 tbsp distilled vinegar
4 English Muffin (Slice each into halves)
8 tsp unsalted butter
1 tsp canola oil
4 thick slices of honey baked ham (or any ham of your choice or smoked salmon)
A pinch of ground white pepper
8 large eggs
Over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, set aside and keep warm.
Fill a saucepan 3/4 full with water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
In a medium-sized stainless-steel or glass bowl, whisk the yolks with the lemon juice and seasonings until combined. Whisk in 2 tbsps room-temperature water.
Place the bowl on top of the simmering water and continue to whisk the yolks while turning the bowl clockwise. Use a pot holder or kitchen towel as the bowl will get warm. Keep the heat to a minimum so you don't curdle the eggs.
After a minute, the yolks will become foamy and loose. After 2 minutes, the foamy texture will begin to subside and the yolks will thicken slightly. Make sure to whisk around the sides of the bowl so that the yolks do not congeal. After 3 minutes of continuous whisking, the eggs will be even thicker and creamy. When the yolks is thick and golden yellow, similar to the texture of mayonnaise, after about 5 minutes, remove the bowl from the pan.
Add the warm butter in a steady stream into the yolks, whisking the entire time. The sauce will begin to emulsify after about 1 minute. Keep the sauce on a warm water bath or on the back of the stove and covered with plastic wrap so that a skin does not form on the surface. This hollandaise will keep for 3 to 4 hours. If it becomes too thick, whisk in more room-temperature water.
Fill a big saucepan 3/4 filled with water. Add the 2 tbsp salt and vinegar to the water and bring it to a lively simmer over medium heat.
Toast the muffin until golden brown. Spread 1 tsp butter on each side of the sliced muffin.
Grill and cut the ham into halves.
Next, poach an egg by gently cracking an egg into the simmering, slightly bubbling water.
Leave the egg alone for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, and then remove it with a slotted spoon and carefully place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
To assemble the Benedict, place 1 half slice ham on top of the muffin and topped with the poached egg. Ladle 1 to 2 tbsp hollandaise on the egg. Serve immediately.
I am submitting this post to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.
This month's event is hosted by Yen from Eat your heart out and Egg is the theme for August. You can join in the fun and contribute your recipes here.