Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eggs Benedict

I remember one time we went to a fancy restaurant for breakfast as a family when I was quite young, and there was eggs benedict on the menu. I was confused. It wasn't Christmas morning, we weren't still in our pajamas at 11:30, and we weren't already half-full from eating cherry chocolates. This wasn't the appropriate time! Didn't they know that eggs benedict were reserved for only one hallowed day a year? Nothing is sacred anymore.

To say that eggs benedict on Christmas morning is traditional in my family is an understatement: it's institutional. It's in our veins. We've experiemented on it a few times, often with questionable results. This is pretty straightforward, but it's good, and it conjures happy emotions and memories of childlike wonder (well, maybe it won't for you, but it sure does for me).

Eggs Benedict

  • High-quality English muffins, split apart
  • Large eggs (as many eggs as muffin halves)
  • Chicken broth, enough to fill a wide, shallow pan for poaching
  • Thickly sliced Canadian bacon (1-2 slices for each muffin half)
  • Hollaindaise sauce (click here for a recipe)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
The trick with eggs benedict is that everything needs to be ready at the same time. It's good to have a different person manning each component so they can all be perfectly timed (or at least that's how we do it in my family).

for the eggs
Bring the chicken broth to a broil in the poaching pan. Reduce heat to let it simmer. Crack the eggs, and gently slip them just under the broth's surface. Poach until the yolk is the desired doneness (usually just a few minutes--watch them closely).

for the English muffins
Place the muffin halves on a cookie sheet and broil them in the oven or broiler until the tops are just golden and slighly crispy, just a few minutes, also. You only want the very top layer to be crispy: the rest should still be soft.

for the Canadian bacon
Heat a skillet or large, flat plan to medium high heat and sear the edges of the ham. It's usually already cooked, so you don't have to worry about cooking it thoroughly--just heat it and give it some texture.

for the Hollaindiase sauce
Whether you're making it from scratch or a mix, do prepare it to be the last thing completed--right at the moment when you assemble and serve.

Assemble them by placing the bacon atop the muffin, then the poached egg, then the hollaindaise sauce. Enjoy, then wait until Christmas next year to enjoy again.

1 comment:

ashes said...

This totally reminds me of that scene in Runaway Bride where Richard Gere is like, "You don't even know what kinds of eggs you like." Then later on Julia Roberts goes and tries all sorts of eggs...and I think she ends up liking eggs benedict. Awesomeness... Laytons are to eggs benedict like Taylors are to pigs in a blanket. Perhaps that explains a lot....