There is debate over who created this recipe but the most likely story credits Mr and Mrs LeGrand Benedict, regulars at New York’s Delmonico’s Restaurant, who complained there was nothing new on the menu.
This dish was created as a result:
Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce
150ml dry white wine
225ml white wine vinegar
15 whole black peppercorns
1 small red onion roughly chopped
250g unsalted butter
3 free-range egg yolks
Method for Hollandaise Sauce
- Place the white wine, white wine vinegar, black peppercorns and sliced onion into a heavy-based pan (not aluminium) over a high heat.
- Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid in the pan to half its original volume, about 15 minutes. Strain the reduction. (This will make more reduction than you’ll need for this recipe. Store the rest in the fridge for up to a month.)
- While the white wine and vinegar mixture is reducing, place the butter in a small heavy-bottomed pan and melt over a low heat.
- When the butter has melted, use a spoon to skim the white foamy bits (these are milk solids) from the surface of the butter. Remove the clarified butter from the heat and allow to cool to body temperature.
- Position a clean glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Place the egg yolks in the bowl set over the pan of water and whisk. Add about 1T of the strained vinegar and shallot reduction.
- Whisk the egg yolk mixture vigorously and constantly for about five minutes, until the mixture turns foamy and then thickens. The mixture is ready when it falls from the whisk in strands that rest for a second or two on the surface before settling back into the egg mixture.
- Remove the egg mixture from the heat. Pour a small amount of the body-temperature clarified butter into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously until the butter is completely incorporated. Gradually add the rest of the clarified butter to the egg mixture, bit by bit, whisking in all the butter until a smooth, thick, emulsified sauce is formed.
- If you work slowly and if the ingredients are all of the same temperature, the sauce shouldn’t split. If it splits, it’s either too hot or too cold. If it’s too cold (feels cool to the touch), warm the butter up and whisk in the warmed butter, which should re-emulsify the sauce. If it’s too hot (feels very warm to the touch), drop an ice cube into the sauce and whisk again to re-emulsify. Once properly emulsified, the sauce will remain stable, giving you time to prepare the rest of the dish.
Eggs Benedict for Two
3T of white wine vinegar per
500ml of water
4 All Grain eggs, poached
2 English muffins, sliced in half, toasted
4 slices ham, such as York ham
How to poach eggs
- Fill a tall pan with water. Bring to the boil and add 3T of white wine vinegar per 500ml of water.
- Make a ‘whirlpool’ in the pan by swirling a slotted spoon around the outside edge of the pan. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan, in the centre of the whirlpool.
- Poach the eggs until the whites are firm but there’s still movement in the yolk – they’ll feel firm to the touch when ready.
Place half a toasted muffin on each plate. Top with a slice of ham, the other muffin half and another slice of ham. Carefully remove the poached eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and place 2 on top of the ham. Spoon the hollandaise sauce on top and around the muffins and serve immediately.
Eggs Benedict has layers of breakfast muffin, ham, poached egg and hollandaise sauce.
To make Eggs Florentine replace the ham with fried or blanched spinach. To make Eggs Royal replace the ham with smoked salmon.