I am baking up a storm at home. My Princess has her class holiday party tomorrow and I’m getting the olive oil gingerbread cookies baked up for them to decorate. Plus, I’m baking all kinds of goodies to give to teachers, staff and friends for gifts. But for now, the sweet stuff will return tomorrow.
I am taking a break from cookies today to post my Daring Cooks December Challenge on poaching eggs. Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Alton Brown Eggs Benedict recipe.
How to poach an egg
Poaching, in general, is considered to be a healthier way to prepare food because you aren’t using any fats or oils, but water to cook. Of course, if it’s not always the tastiest foods you’ve ever eaten. I’ve had poached chicken breast and it basically tasted like, well, boiled chicken breast! BLAH!
When you do poach you are using hot water that is simmering, not boiling. And when you are poaching an egg, this is vital because you don’t want your egg to fall apart! Adding vinegar to the poaching water helps the egg whites firm faster and prevents them from spreading out loose and free in the water.
Alton Brown Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict is a classic American breakfast – yes, it really does originate from the USA! The real question is who exactly created this dish, although we can narrow it down to originating from New York.
The classic eggs Benedict consists of two halves of an English muffin, toasted and topped with a slice of ham or bacon, poached egg and drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Many variations do exist, some including steak and others including crab meat, but the general forumal is the same.
Tips to making Alton Brown Eggs Benedict
Whether you are making eggs Benedict for one or a crowd, it is good to have all of your ingredients and tools ready and on hand. Timing is pretty important when you are making the hollandaise sauce and poaching eggs, so you don’t want to be “scrambling” for missing items!
One trick I always use when I’m poaching eggs is to crack the egg in a small bowl first. Then you gently slide the egg in to the simmering water. These keeps you from plopping the egg into the water and breaking the yolk. It also helps the egg keep its pretty shape.
How to make Alton Brown Hollandaise Sauce
Hollandaise sauce is an older recipe than Eggs Benedict. It used to be called “Dutch Sauce” but it originates from either England or France. Since it is made with so much butter, I’m leaning more towards the French creating this sauce!
Making hollandaise sauce means whisking egg yolks over in a double boiler with a little sugar and a whole lot of butter. But much more slowly than how I described! Slow and steady whisking of the egg yolks until it thickens you add a pat of chilled butter, one at time, until it is melted and combined.
Once all of the butter is added and the sauce is thick, you stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep the hollandaise sauce warm while you poach the eggs and assemble your eggs Benedict.
How to reheat hollandaise sauce
I may not be an eggs Benedict fan, but I am a fan of hollandaise sauce! We used the remaining Hollandaise sauce later that evening over our steamed asparagus. Totally dreamy. Even the kids loved it!
The key to reheating hollandaise sauce is to heat it slowly. I nuked it for 8 seconds, then stirred it, nuked again for 8 seconds, stirred, etc… until it warmed up. This keeps the eggs in the sauce from curdling. I could have used a double boiler again, but that required more pots to be washed!
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp water
- ¼ tsp granulated sugar
- 12 TBS unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- ⅛ tsp white wine vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices of Canadian bacon
- 2 English muffins, split in half
- 1 tsp chopped chives
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
- In a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water, whisk together 3 egg yolks with 1 tsp water.
- Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten.
- Whisk in sugar.
- Place bowl in saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat, but let the water continue to simmer.
- Whisk butter into the egg mixture, 1 piece at a time.
- Move the bowl to the pan of simmering water again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in ½ tsp kosher salt, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
- Keep the hollandaise sauce warm while you poach your eggs.
- Make sure you have 2–3 inches of water in your pan and bring back to a simmer.
- Add ¼ tsp salt and vinegar.
- In a small bowl, crack 1 egg. Gently pour egg into simmering water.
- Repeat steps 13 one at a time and cook eggs for 3-5 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
- If your egg is not cooking fast enough, raise temperature slightly. You do NOT want a rolling boil when poaching eggs.
- Warm over medium heat a small non-stick frying pan and add Canadian bacon.
- Toast English muffin halves to desired doneness.
- Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon.
- Remove one egg with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon.
- Repeat with remainder eggs and muffins.
- Top the eggs with chives.
Serving Suggestions: For a healthy touch, quickly pan-fry collard greens or spinach with salt & pepper. Then, layer between the muffin and bacon.
Serving Size:1 muffin and egg
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 533Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 472mgSodium: 837mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g