sunday brunch : smoked salmon eggs benedict.
You know what is scary?
It’s one of those things. Like baking with yeast and butterflying a chicken that makes a lot of people shake their heads and say, “Uh. I’m not a chef.”
I was afraid. Whenever I thought of hollandaise sauce, I thought it must be so complicated that chefs-to-be have to make it as their final exam in culinary school. I have this vision of an angry French chef yelling at a tiny Audrey Hepburn to, “Whisk! Whisk! Whisk!”
Then I had smoked salmon eggs benedict when we were on vacation this summer and I knew I seriously needed to overcome my fear of hollandaise sauce. For eggs benedict were something I needed in my life on a regular basis.
And guess what? Turns out hollandaise sauce really isn’t that hard. Just as long as you have strong triceps and a bit of patience, it comes together pretty easily. I was afraid all these years for absolutely nothing.
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill (or 2 tsp. fresh)
Place a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Add egg yolks and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, or until eggs are thick, pale yellow and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. While constantly whisking, add in butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition until all of the butter is incorporated. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Keep warm over warm water in saucepan until read to use. Whisk well before serving.
Makes enough for about 4 servings of eggs benedict.
Of course, there are a ton of uses for Hollandaise sauce. One of the more common is pouring it over green veggies like asparagus and brussels sprouts. But probably the most famous is eggs benedict.
A crispy English muffin topped with a creamy-yolked poached egg and smothered in Hollandaise sauce? Yes, please!
I fell so deeply in love with the breakfast I had while on vacation, I knew that it had to be my very first meal A.H. (After Hollandaise).
Pulling this together takes a bit of multitasking. You’ll be whisking Hollandaise at the same time you are poaching eggs and toasting English muffins. But you can do it!
First you’ll need to gather a heat-proof bowl that fits well into a saucepan.
Fill up the saucepan with about an inch of water and bring it to a low boil on the stove. Fill up a second sauce pan with water, and add a splash of vinegar.
Add that one to the stove too and bring to a simmer (this one is for poaching your eggs).
Meanwhile, seperate your eggs.
Four yolks into the heat-proof bowl.
Place on top of the simmering water and start whisking.
And KEEP whisking. You’ll be whisking constantly for about 3-4 minutes, or until the yolks get thick, pale and can coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and start incorporating the melted butter. While whisking, add in a spoonful of butter at a time. Whisking well after each addition.
You’ll want to add the whole 1/3 cup of melted butter, a spoonful at a time. It can take a while. Your triceps will be screaming with pain. When you can’t whisk another second, call your Babyface over and ask him to take over.
Whisk in the lemon juice, dill, red pepper and salt. Then stop! You are done whisking.
This can sit over the warm water while you prepare the poached eggs and English muffins. Just give it a little stir every now and again until you are ready to serve.
Onto the poached eggs! Your other saucepan should be at a low simmer now. Break an egg, one at a time, into a small bowl.
Trust me, it is easier to slip these into the water when they are in a small bowl. Gently slide the egg into the simmering water. I normally do two at a time.
Set your timer for 3 1/2 minutes. At about a minute in, gently stir to make sure the eggs aren’t sticking to the bottom. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Assembly time! Toasted English muffin.
A layer of smoked salmon.
The poached eggs.
And then the Hollandaise sauce.
Garnish with a little more dill.
Babyface said, “Mmmmmmm. Baby did good.”
Mmm, I did do good!