Graduates toasted with Eggs Benedict

Friday, May 25, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 21

Our family has been celebrating graduations for the past few weeks: Kindergarten graduations, high school graduations and, this past Saturday evening, a college graduation.

Along with these graduations come the typical family get-together eating episodes. We have no problems with those! We have tasted a lot of tasty things: some new and some of the old standbys.

Today, I have a recipe that is new for me. My hubby loves eggs Benedict and orders it every time we go out for brunch. However, I have never tried it. It always looked too runny for me.

Well, things have changed. For Molly’s high school graduation in Denver, Betsy, our daughter, prepared eggs Benedict for breakfast. I had never attempted making this because I have never given it a chance, but now I had to!

I have to say that Betsy did an absolutely wonderful job! That breakfast was so delicious! She had eggs Benedict, potatoes, fresh fruit and mimosas. It was excellent and I had to get her recipe, which wasn’t the least bit difficult. Thanks, Betsy, for a wonderful breakfast!

Historians give credit to two versions of the origin of eggs Benedict:

  • In the 1860s, Delmonico’s Restaurant was the very first restaurant ever opened in the United States. A regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, wanting something new for lunch, talked with Delmonico’s Chef Charles Ranhofer. He came up with eggs Benedict. Eggs à la Benedick – Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, then place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins, one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached egg on each toast. Cover with Hollandaise sauce.
  • Then, the following story appeared in the December 19,1942, issue of the weekly New Yorker Magazine “Talk of the Town” column, and is based on an interview with Lemuel Benedict the year before he died. Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker suffering from a hangover, ordered “some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker (bowl) of hollandaise sauce” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The Waldorf’s legendary chef, Oscar Tschirky, was so impressed that he put the dish on his menus, substituting Canadian bacon for crisp bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread.

English muffins. Fresh is best. The split halves should be toasted. Tearing the muffins apart with a fork or with hands, rather than slicing them, increases surface area, flavor and absorbency.

Canadian bacon. Regular bacon comes from pork bellies, the underside of the hog, along the ribs. Canadian bacon comes from the meatier loin, along the backbone. It is trimmed of excess fat and is cured like ham.

Eggs. Poach eggs until whites are set. Vinegar helps to help set the whites, but should not be tasted. Yolks can range from runny to almost set.

Hollandaise sauce. A barely cooked beaten egg mixture thickened with hot butter and lemon juice.

At left is a recipe with an easy blender method for the Hollandiase sauce. There are several different recipes on the Internet. You can also make it from a packages sauce mix; Knoll makes one of the best. Prepping and making sure your steps are in order is the key to successful eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict

Makes 4 (one-egg one-muffin) servings of Eggs Benedict.

4 slices of Canadian bacon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives, for garnish

4 eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 English muffins, split


Blender Hollandaise (See recipe)

Dash of Cayenne, Tabasco or Paprika

Heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add the Canadian bacon. Slowly fry, turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon from the pan, set on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Wrap loosely in foil, and place in warm oven until ready to use.

While bacon is cooking: If using an egg poacher, prepare the pan and water. If not, bring large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil; add the vinegar. Lower the heat to a slow simmer.

Make the Hollandaise sauce. (See recipe).

Poach the eggs. If using egg-poaching pan, break eggs in cups and poach over simmering water until done. If using saucepan, crack egg into a small bowl and slip it into the simmering water. Slip in another egg until all are cooking. Cover pan and remove from heat; let set four to five minutes. Gently lift out eggs with slotted spoon. Place on paper towel-lined platter. Keep warm.

Toast English muffins while eggs are poaching. After toasting, butter tops.

Assemble Eggs Benedict in this order: English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with garnish and serve immediately.

Blender Hollandaise

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter. Put three egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, one half teaspoon salt in a blender, blend on medium speed for 20-30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color. Turn blender to lowest setting; slowly dribble in the hot melted butter. Blend until thickened. Add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Keep warm.