step by step: my first attempt at eggs benedict

one of my favorite breakfasts is eggs benedict.  i always order it at restaurants, but i’ve been a bit hesitant to try out the recipe at home.  this is mostly due to my fear of making  hollandaise sauce and also poaching eggs.  luckily, i found a really great recipe for making hollandaise sauce, compliments of julia child:

3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, if needed (or more) [i used lime juice since i didn't have lemon]
6 -8 ounces very soft unsalted butter [i used 6 ounces even]
1 dash cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
fresh ground white pepper, to taste [i used black pepper]

Directions:

1. Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).

2. Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook.

3. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue).

4. As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.

5. By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.

6. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.

it took me about 10 minutes of constant whisking before i added butter to the frothy egg yolks.  at first i was worried that we’d be eating raw eggs since the mixture really wan’t getting thick, but then i whisked to my hearts content for another 15 minutes or so.  much to my surprise, those puppies thickened right up and were the perfect velvety, smooth consistency.

while all this was going on, i had a pot of water boiling for the eggs.  i’ve tried making poached eggs before – using the vinegar method and the swirly method – and they’ve never turned out quite right.  as a solution, this time i used 2 poachpods, which can purchased for about $10 at bed bath and beyond.

these little silicon pods really work wonders.  all you need to do is butter the poachpod, add an egg, and cook it in boiling water for about 5 1/2 minutes with the lid on.  i cooked 2 eggs at a time since i only had 2 pods, but you could definitely cook about 4 eggs in one medium-sized saucepan.  once the time is up, gently remove the eggs from the boiling water and turn the pod upside-down to release.

i then toasted a couple english muffins, warmed up my canadian bacon on the stovetop, and put together the breakfast.  to do this, i stacked the canadian bacon and then the poached egg atop the toasted english muffin.  i finished it off with the creamy hollandaise sauce and and a sprinkle of parsley.

to my pleasant surprise, the whole thing turned out really well.  although i was a bit worried about substituting the lime juice for the lemon juice, i think the lime gave the hollandaise a really nice flavor.  and the eggs were the perfect constancy.  overall, a very good meal which i’m really happy i finally tried.  i know i’ll be making these yummy eggs benedicts for many sunday mornings to come.

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