Photo by Diana Perez
My friend Nicos is a travel advisor and tour operator, and has the enviable job of journeying to the farthest corners of the globe and “testing” luxury hotels and resorts for his clientele. Recently he mentioned that in order to judge the quality of any hotel’s breakfast he always orders eggs benedict. I know, it’s a hell of a job, but some pour soul has to do it. Bitterness aside, I think he has a point. Eggs benedict is a seemingly simple dish composed of finicky parts. In a matter of seconds a hollandaise can break or an egg can overcook. I have personal experience with several benedict-inspired disasters.
So here you will find my tried-and-true eggs benedict recipe. Thousands of recipes claim to be “foolproof,” but practice and experience are the best teachers, especially when it comes to this dish. Which is why it is so often found in restaurants and hotels, and more rarely prepared in home kitchens.
This is a picture of me digging into a perfect plate of eggs benedict at the James Beard American Restaurant brunch at Duomo 21. So whether you try your hand at making it yourself, or decide to go for brunch in downtown Milan, it’s nice to know you have options… just in case your job description doesn’t include hotel breakfasts in Turks and Caicos.
- 2 english muffins or small rolls, split and toasted (even better, use these biscuits)
- 4 strips of bacon (or ham, or smoked salmon)
- 2 teaspoons of vinegar
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)
- chives or green onions, diced, for garnish
Prepare the hollandaise sauce (below), keep warm. Fry the bacon in a pan and heat the english muffins. Set aside.
Fill a large saucepan with about 4 inches of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat under saucepan to medium, so water is just barely simmering. Break 1 egg at a time into a small heatproof bowl. Gently tip egg bowl into water; carefully slide in the egg. Repeat with remaining eggs. Cook, without allowing the water to reach a boil, for about 3 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks remain soft.
Meanwhile, divide the bacon among the English muffin halves. When the eggs are ready, remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon in the order in which they were added, shaking off excess water. Gently place egg on a bacon-topped muffin, and spoon reserved warm hollandaise sauce over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives. Top with warm Hollandaise sauce and garnish with chopped chives or green onions. Serve immediately.
- 3 egg yolks
- a pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons 85 g) of butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 6 chunks
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- a pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika
In a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of barely-simmering water, whisk egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of water, whisking vigorously, until mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from heat, slowly stir in butter, one chunk at a time, stirring constantly. Heat bowl again over the double boiler and stir until it thickens and turns a bright yellow color. Whisk in the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and serve warm.