A signature dish we all have one. That special go to dish that we secretly feel is restaurant worthy, and fills us with pride when requested by those we love. For me that dish is Eggs Benedict. It is T’s favorite, he would eat this every day if it wasn’t pure gluttony. When returning from being away at work it is his dinner of choice. It always fills me with pride when out for brunch he turns to me smiles and says your hollandaise sauce is much better. There are two champions of this dish, the hollandaise and the poached egg. The egg must be poached to perfection, firm on the outside and soft on the inside so the yoke streams out melting into the buttery indulgence of the sauce.
Hollandaise is one of the classic french sauces, and as such it often scares most home chefs straight into a packet of sauce powder. Stay away, instead reach for the butter and Julia Child’s recipe. Julia’s (aka the American Queen of French Cooking) recipe is my definitive go to. After trying out several others, there is just no compare.
To begin you will need to prep your double boiler. I use a small metal mixing bowl and my 3 Qt pot. Fill the pot so the water will just skim the bottom of the bowl when set into the pot. If the water surrounds the bottom of the bowl the eggs will cook ruining your sauce. While the water is coming to a steady boil, you can begin the egg mixture.
- Whisk 3 egg yolks, a dash of water, and 1 (generous) tablespoon of lemon until the mixture thickens and turns a pale yellow colour.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter to the mixture and whisk till smooth.
- Reduce the burner to medium heat and set the mixing bowl into the pot.
- Whisk at a constant smooth pace, be cautious that the eggs do not cook.
- In the mean time, melt 1 cup (8 oz) of unsalted butter.
- When you notice the egg mixture is thickening and you can see streaks in the bottom of the bowl as you whisk – remove the bowl from the pot of water.
- Slowly mix the melted butter into the egg mixture – I generally estimate this part adding a fourth of the butter at a time. Be sure to completely mix the butter into the egg before proceeding with more butter.
- Once the butter is added return to the bowl to the pot over the water, now you get to taste and correct the seasoning by adding white ground pepper (no likes black specks in this beautiful sauce) and cayenne pepper. You can also add another dash of lemon juice if you like I normally do… Set aside on the stove top and begin the eggs.
To save clean up, and time, I add more water to the pot used for the double boiler, and bring to an easy boil once again. Now poaching an egg can be a tedious process with the swirling and the vinegar definitely a labour of love.. Until I found my favorite cooking show tip of all time. My Kitchen Rules is one of my favs! It is an Australian show feature home cooks love love love!! Last year I picked up this tip on how to perfectly poach eggs from two luscious contestants Nic & Rocco.
You will need a ramekin or a 1 cup measuring cup, cling film, and of course eggs.
- Place about a 6 inch piece of cling film into the ramekin, or measuring cup – you want to insure you have enough to tie up.
- Crack the egg into the center of the dish
- Now twist the ends of the cling film tying ends together to seal the egg inside.
- Repeat depending on how eggs you require
- Drop the cling film egg parcels into the water and cook for 5 minutes. (Now toast and butter the english muffins)
- Remove from water cutting the cling film packet open gently placing the eggs on top of the toasted english muffins and ham.
Check the temperature of the sauce, you can always put it back over the boiling water for a minute if it needs to warm up. Spoon the sauce generously over the eggs and Viola!! Delightful restaurant worthy Eggs Benedict 🙂 Enjoy!!