Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eggs Benedict with Whole Egg Hollandaise

When we go out for breakfast Lewis orders eggs benedict with the hollandaise sauce on the side.  Most of the time he takes a tiny taste of the hollandaise and then eats his eggs without it.  Which leaves me to happily eat my hash browns by dipping them in his hollandaise sauce.  So when I decided to make eggs benedict for Father's Day I really did not need to make hollandaise.  However without making it I felt guilty, like I was short changing the work needed for a special breakfast.  Plus, for me it is not eggs benedict without hollandaise and I was eating breakfast as well.

All the recipes I found for hollandaise called for a very simple list of ingredients and all of the them called for egg yolks only.  Personally I hate using only part of the egg, transferring the part you don't use to a container in the fridge where it will be forgotten.  Instead I used whole eggs that I pushed through a sieve before cooking.  One of the reasons to use egg yolks only, besides from the increased richness and fat, is the whites can cook up less smooth then the yolks on their own.  By straining the eggs before cooking the hollandaise you remove the chalazae, which is the protein strand that suspends the yolk within the white.

In the end the hollandaise I made had a light clean lemon flavor, was still rich and satisfying and even Lewis ate a very modest amount on his eggs.  Julian and Sebastian both declared it disgusting, so I know it retains its classic hollandaise qualities.

Whole Egg Hollandaise

2 whole eggs
1 Tbsp cold water
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)

Strain the eggs through a fine mesh sieve into the top of a double boiler of a bowl placed on top of a pan of hot water.  Add the tablespoon of cold water to the strained eggs and turn heat the pan so the water is hot but not boiling.  Beat the eggs and water with a wire whisk continuously until the mixture is light and filled with tiny bubbles.

Add the butter to the mixture a tablespoon at a time and whisk until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.  Check occasionally to make sure the water is not boiling.  Continue to add the butter a tablespoon at a time, waiting until the last piece melts and is incorporates before adding more and whisking it in.

Add the salt and part of the lemon juice and taste to see if you want more lemon juice.  The sauce will thicken more once it is removed from the heat.  Turn the heat off and set aside while you make prep the eggs and english muffins.

Eggs Benedict
serves 4

8 slices good quality smoked deli ham (I used Vermont Smoke and Cure)
4 English muffins, split and toasted
8 eggs

1 recipe whole egg hollandaise sauce

Place the ham on each English muffin half and set aside.

bring a large pot half filled with water to the boil with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.  While the water is heating crack two eggs a piece into small ramekins or teacups.  When the water is boiling turn it off and add the eggs by submerging the side of the ramekin into the water and slowly tipping them in.  Once all the eggs are in the water turn the heat back on to the lowest setting and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top of the ham.  Serve with the hollandaise sauce on the side.

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