For me eggs benedict is not simply a classic brunch dish (although I seriously can’t understand how people can continue to explore a brunch buffet after having such a rich and nourishing toast) – it’s definitely an ultimate indulgent breakfast. I know that it’s far from being a healthy option but I’m even ready to run another mile in the gym for having an extra spoon of hollandaise sauce!
Strange as it may seem, but I’ve never had this world famous dish in its authentic form – with an English muffin and ham. Instead, I use plain toasted bread and smoked salmon for my version of it. And, to say true, I never felt like trying traditional “eggs benedict” as I’m more than happy with the subtle taste of mine.
Initially, my husband thought that I take too much trouble preparing such a breakfast on a busy mid-week morning (for him seeing a double boiler on the stove at 7 o’clock in the morning was way too much!), but the thing is, after you cook this dish a number of times, you don’t need to focus on every step of the process anymore: you start to do all the things automatically and all of a sudden you discover an ability to stir your hollandaise sauce with one hand and make a whirl in a boiling water for poaching eggs with another hand (astonishing as it is, but your eyes can still remain half-shut after a short night’s sleep – every move in the kitchen is in your muscle memory!). So, believe me, it’s a deceivingly difficult dish – once you master it, it won’t take you longer to prepare it than to make some pancakes! And it’s always good to have such a stunning dish in your repertoire – either for dear friends who pay you a visit on a Sunday morning or for beloved yourself, right in the middle of the working week!
4 slices of bread, crust removed
4 slices of smoked salmon
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vinegar
½ cup butter, melted
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh herbs, to garnish
- For poached eggs, bring some water to a boil in a pan. Add the vinegar and salt. Break an egg into a small bowl and gently slide it into the water (make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom). Cook for a few minutes on low, remove from the pan and place in a bowl with cool water to stop the cooking process. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
- Toast the bread slices and spread the butter on top of them.
- For hollandaise sauce, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, add lemon juice and 2 tbsp of water and whisk again. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring continuously, till thick and smooth. Remove from heat and add the butter, drop by drop, stirring continuously, till all the butter is used. Season the sauce to taste.
- To serve, place the toasted bread, buttered side up, on a plate. Top with a slice of smoked salmon and a poached egg. Spoon the sauce over the eggs and garnish with fresh herbs.