Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Sunday Brunch - Eggs Benedict

The laziness of a Sunday afternoon and the lack of exciting ideas for making anything more interesting led to this meal. I've never made hollandaise before... but how hard can it be, right? No, not so hard....I just threw the first batch away. Ha! But the second was fine :) I did modify the recipe... just a little. I used lime juice instead of the traditional white wine vinegar or lemon juice (I didn't have either in stock) and I didn't cook this over a pan of simmering water but it tasted fine. Couldn't be happier for a first ... alright.. second attempt :)

An egg yolk
A squeeze of lime/lemon / white wine vinegar
melted butter (about 50g, depending on the size of your egg) - if you're really picky you can used the clarified stuff or do it yourself but if you're lazy like me, then go ahead with the normal stuff - it didn't seem to make a difference
salt and pepper to taste

  • Melt the butter on a low heat, make sure it doesn't burn.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lime juice salt and pepper until thickened.
  • Whisking (I used a hand held one) hard, trickle in the butter in a slow, steady stream*. You should be able to see the mixture in the bowl thicken.
  • When all the butter has been incorporated, wipe down the side of the bowl with a spatula to ensure all the sauce gets mixed in and give the mixture another whisk.
*This is where recipes call for the whisking of the mixture over a pan of simmering water and where it went horribly wrong for me. My bowl got too hot and the egg yolk cooked into slimy, lumpy bits. Pretty. So down the kitchen drain it went and I started a new batch without having to use any hot water.

Putting it all together
Poach the egg - bring some water in a pot to a gentle simmer - add a touch of vinegar to the water. This helps the egg hold its shape by causing the outer layer of the egg white to congeal faster. Break the egg into a little bowl. Swirl the water to make a mini whirlpool - with a spoon or a whisk does the job even better. Drop the egg into the middle of the whirlpool and watch the egg white whirl around the yolk. Poach for about 2-3 minutes for a nice runny-medium yolk.

In the meantime, slice the English muffin in half and pop it into the toaster. Butter the muffin halves if you so wish and layer on the ham. I have to confess, since we are on an economy drive, I used economy ham ... *shock horror* :) Then again I adore Spam and this stuff is probably just as bad.

Gently lift the egg from the water and place it on top on the ham on the muffin. Spoon over the hollandaise and crack on some black pepper.

Conclusion? The sauce was good but not as rich as it can be. Maybe next time I'll use a tad bit more butter and definitely some better quality ham.

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