Eggs Benedict with Rashers and Smoked Salmon

Bit of a slapdash breakfast this New Year’s morning at Happy Food Baby HQ. Ah the first day of January, the start of another new year – hello 2012. I am thankful that I don’t have a hangover this morning – inside the body of this (almost)-27-year-old girly is a crotchety old lady that doesn’t like staying out late. I happily slurped half a bottle of Cava with some chocolate truffles and a big bowl of popcorn, and lived vicariously through the lives of thousands of other revellers as they joined Jools Holland for his annual New Year’s Eve Hootenanny (not so good this year), Alan Carr for his New Year’s Eve Specstacular (semi-famous people getting drunk on tv and being silly) and the absolutely amazing, incredible fireworks that kicked off in London as the gong went at midnight (the soundtrack was excellent). I was in bed asleep by 1.30am. Yes.

This morning called for something more than cereal, something saltier than porridge, maybe something with bacon….? I’ve never made Eggs Benedict before but I figured I’d give it a try so I consulted my good friend Google and came across my other good friend Jamie Oliver who had this recipe for me. It calls for clarified butter, which I didn’t have in the fridge. I knew Jamie probably wasn’t being fancy just for the sake of it, and that there was a good reason he called for clarified butter- or ghee as it is referred to in Indian cooking (no sniggering in the back you lot!) – but I decided to go ahead anyway and see what happened. Well. My hollandaise sauce was looking just beautiful: thick and glossy, until…it broke. Yep, the water in my butter escaped once it reached a high temperature, causing the sauce to go from smooth and thick to grainy and runny. It still tasted good, despite the disappointing texture. I will be clarifying my butter in future. I advise you to do the same, especially if you’re hoping to impress. Using regular butter won’t be a disaster but the whole point of Eggs Benedict is the perfect hollandaise sauce. At least use unsalted butter if you can.

**Update** Since serving this recipe, Big Sister has informed me of a recipe from one of her favourite food personalities, Alton Brown. Here is his recipe for Eggs Benedict, using regular, unsalted butter in the hollandaise. It’s worth a try I say.

This recipe serves two people. It’s all hands on deck, using a lot of saucepans. The picture isn’t great, sorry about that (insert sad face).

Eggs Benedict

2 egg yolks
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
5-6 whole black peppercorns
125g / 4½ oz clarified butter
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, for poaching
Bread or English muffin
Smoked Salmon

1. Put the white wine vinegar and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Over a medium heat, reduce the vinegar down to half, swishing it around the pan regularly (takes about 10mins, make sure it reduces down enough or your hollandaise will be too vinegary). Strain the vinegar to remove the peppercorns and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan.

3. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Sit the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add the reduced vinegar to the yolks and whisk until the mixture becomes a light, airy foam.

4. Gradually add the butter, whisking constantly, to make a thick, glossy sauce. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over the simmering pot of water while you poach your eggs, fry up your rashers and toast the bread or English muffin. Butter the toast, add a layer of smoked salmon, pop a poached egg on top and drizzle the hollandaise over it all. Add your bacon on the side. Got some bubbly left over? After all that effort, you deserve a mimosa.


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