This dish is one of the reasons why I am willing to stand on a line for over an hour and wait for Brunch at The Clinton Street Baking Company on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. I just love their Eggs Benedict & Hollandaise Sauce.
I finally plucked up the courage to try it on my own – at home. Needless to say, it was outstanding.
I used store bought biscuits for this recipe, however there is nothing like fresh homemade biscuits (especially theirs – to be blogged soon). You can also use English muffins instead of the biscuits and can also replace the ham with smoked salmon, which makes these eggs even more delicious.
Eggs Benedict & Hollandaise Sauce
2 tablespoons salt, plus a pinch
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 buttermilk biscuits/ English muffins (homemade or store bought)
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon canola oil
Two ¼-inch-thick slices smoked ham (smoked salmon works really well too)
Pinch of ground white pepper
4 large eggs
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground white pepper
• Preheat the oven’s broiler.
• Make the hollandaise.
• Fill a 6-quart saucepan three-quarters full with water.
• Add the 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar to the water and bring it to a lively simmer over medium heat.
• Split the biscuits in half and spread each side with 1 teaspoon butter.
• Toast the biscuits under the broiler until golden brown and the butter is melted.
• Spread the oil on the ham and season it with a pinch of salt and pepper.
• Grill the ham until it is marked and then cut each slice in half.
• Crack 1 egg into a small bowl.
• Imagine that the pot is a clock and make sure the handle is at 9:00.
• Starting at 12:00, drop the egg carefully into the simmering water.
• Drop the next egg in at 1:00, then 2:00, and so on. This way you will know which order to remove the eggs from the water.
• The eggs should be removed with a slotted spoon when they are still jiggly but the yolks are set, after about 1½ to 2 minutes.
To assemble the Benedict:
• Place 1 half slice ham on top of a biscuit half.
• The poached egg will be placed on top of the ham.
• Ladle 1 to 2 tablespoons hollandaise 9 (instructions below) on the egg and then scatter the chopped tomato and a sprinkling of scallions on top.
• Over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once it is melted, set the butter aside in a warm place.
• Fill a saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
• In a medium-size stainless-steel or glass bowl, whisk the yolks with the lemon juice and seasonings until combined.
• Whisk in 2 tablespoons 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 potholder or kitchen towel because the bowl will get warm!
• Keep the heat to a minimum so you don’t curdle the eggs.
• After 1 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. (If they appear to be thickening too quickly or clumping, remove the bowl from the pan and let them cool down.)
• After 3 minutes of continuous whisking, the eggs will be even thicker and creamy. (Take a break here if you need it. Remove the bowl from the heat, and then resume.) At this stage, the yolks are close to being cooked.
• After 4 minutes, the egg mixture will thicken into ribbons and you will be able to see the bottom of the bowl.
• Whisk continuously. You will reach the final stage after 5 minutes, when the yolks will be a thick and golden yellow, similar to the texture of mayonnaise.
• Remove the bowl from the pan.
• Add the warm melted 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.