Friday, November 2, 2012

Eggs Benedict

Who would say no to poached eggs on crispy toasted ciabatta and dredged with a creamy hollandaise sauce? No one, that’s who. It’s such a classic weekend breakfast dish but is a treat that most people will only indulge in at restaurants because, let’s face it, it has a rather intimidating cheffy name. In actual fact, making your own is pretty simple and the brownie points you’ll earn for surprising your husband or wife with this on a Saturday morning will be worth it. It will also save you on an expensive breakfast which is quite affordable when made at home. If you’re brave enough, the French insist on making proper hollandaise with your wrist and a whisk but if you’re anything like me and simply want to get down to the eating part, a blender is the way to go.

For the hollandaise:

2 egg yolks
1 1/2T good-quality white vinegar
250g unsalted butter, melted and warm
white pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste

Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk in the vinegar.
Cover the bottom of the bowl with a dish cloth and set it over a pan of gently simmering water (the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water) and whisk in the butter a little at a time until all the butter has been added and the sauce is thick. The bowl should never be too hot to touch.
For the quick way: place the egg yolks and vinegar in a blender and blend until combined. Gradually add the hot butter in a steady stream with the motor running until thick and glossy.
Season with salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste.

TIPS If the sauce is a little thick, simply thin it with a little warm water. If not serving immediately, cover the surface of the sauce with cling wrap and place in a warm place or over a bowl of warm water for not more than an hour or two.

For the benedict:

4 fresh eggs, poached
4 slices ciabatta, toasted
4 slices of smoked salmon, trout, ham
marinated artichokes or steamed spinach

Place the warm eggs on the toasted ciabatta along with the salmon and artichokes or spinach.
Season well before spooning the hollandaise sauce over. If you like, you can even place it under a hot grill for a few seconds for the hollandaise to caramelize.

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