As it turns out, this past weekend marks one year since I proposed to Cassie at the now closed Cambridge Hotel. I didn’t intend for it to be so close to Valentines Day, but shit happens.
This year, since the weather outlook predicted a snowy Saturday morning, I figured I’d try making a dish I’ve never made or ordered before, eggs Benedict. The significance of the dish is that it is one of Cassie’s favorite things to order when we’re out to brunch together.
Can you believe I’ve never actually ordered it?
The phenomenon of me eating dishes with eggs prepared with runny yolks is fairly new, so it’s never been something that’s appealed to me. It’s only been since I’ve been regularly enjoying the corned beef hash for brunch at Illium Cafe that I’ve started appreciating Hollandaise sauce.
And, having never actually prepared it, I didn’t even appreciate it completely until now since you have to make Hollandiase sauce to make eggs Benedict.
No, I didn’t use a packet, you animal.
I used Alton Brown’s technique.
Starting with three egg yolks and a tablespoon of water, I whisked the hell out of it until it became frothy. Then I added the quarter teaspoon of sugar and whisked like hell for a few seconds.
At that point, it was onto the double boiler for a few minutes. Whisking like mad on and off the heat until it thickened significantly. Then the butter (12 tablespoons) was incorporated a tablespoon at a time, being meticulous to keep going on and off the heat to balance the processes of the butter melting into the sauce and the heat curdling the eggs. Once all of the butter was in, two teaspoons of lemon juice, half teaspoon of salt, and eighth teaspoon of cayenne pepper went in, and it was done.
Ohh man, it was so much easier to type that out than it was to make it. Keeping that sauce from breaking took lots of elbow grease. It’s a labor of love because, at the end, you have a beautiful bowl of fatty goodness. You’re supposed to use the sauce to smother an English muffin topped with ham and poached eggs. Alton’s recipe makes enough for probably 3-4 plates of eggs Benedict. Or you can just put it on top of everything. Your call.
I found some delicious organic English muffins at Hannaford…
…quickly pan seared some ham slices…
…and poached up some eggs.
Using a cast iron skillet, I made up some hash browns on the side.
And that was that!
It was really a delicious breakfast. Aside from the sauce, it wasn’t a whole lot of work. When I explained the way Alton Brown had me make the sauce, she gave me a skeptical look because I guess it’s not the way she does it. She also thought it was a little spicy, and the funny thing is that I went scant on the cayenne. If anything, I thought there was a little too much lemon juice, but honestly, over everything else, it was just fine.
Now having the first hand experience with the dish, eggs Benedict sounds like a fine option if I’m out to brunch, but if they’re also making a good homemade corned beef hash, I’d probably order that instead. I have nothing against eggs Benedict; corned beef hash just appeals more to me, that’s all.