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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, March 28, 2004

The charming thing about Eggs Benedict

The charming thing about Eggs Benedict

I didn't want to write about food again, with the scrapple and cheese fries in one week, but I ran across this site Brunch.org which is dedicated to the perfect restaurant Eggs Benedict. It was so charming I had to share it.

As I have said, this is not my favorite breakfast, but it is my best friend's Dave's. When he eats out, this is what he orders. Not all the time, like zombie, he appreciates Waffle House, and all, but you know those diner mornings when you stare at the menu? Well, for Jen, who will eat anything, she'll choose an Irish Breakfast, me, I go for sausage and eggs over easy, but Dave, he'll go for the Eggs Benedict. None of us are food monomaniacs, I had a ham, sausage, bacon omlet I can't wait to have again from a local diner. But we all have our preferences.

Now, I like and make Eggs Benedict, because I think it's pretty easy. I never use Canadian Bacon because I have no guests and no other uses for it. I usually use honey turkey or sausage, but I'm lazy. It is an upscale meal which any idiot can fix.

Ok, let's get to the Hollandaise sauce. Fresh lemon (NEVER bottled), pepper, butter (ALWAYS) and a couple of egg yolks. You dump in the lemon, heat up the butter, and stir in the egg. In less than a minute, you have a tart, creamy sauce. If you have any inventiveness, add sugar and use it over poundcake or something, but not at the same time. Today, I added mushrooms because I wanted the mushroom flavor, but usually herbs like tarragon or parsley are the limit.

Sure, salmonella is a worry, if you leave your eggs out and don't heat the mixture through. But it a simple sauce if you do it right.

Why add it? Because otherwise you have an Egg McMuffin. It has a sublime flavor, a richness.

Poached eggs are easy. I like them in a frying pan with water for a simple reason. You can keep the yolks runny easier that way. When the whites congeal, just spoon some water over the yellow yolks and the albumen will turn white, and you have your runny eggs. I dumped the water in the pan I used to make spice rub in, so the eggs cooked in the leftover spices. It cleaned the pan and added a little flavor to the eggs. Poached eggs are underrated. Some days, you want a fried egg and toast, but the delicacy of poached eggs should be whipped out by cooks far more often, to eliminate fat and to have an egg which is perfect for a sandwich or a late meal.

I usually fix poached eggs when I get sick of oil. Same flavor and no fat.

The meat is usually whatever is around, except for American bacon. The more I think about it, the more I love cheesesteak steak. It would be perfect for this dish, thin slices of beef and mushroom on an English Muffin. American bacon is best alone slathered in yolk or in an omlette. Not in this. Leftover ham is OK, if you cut it thin enough. Proscuitto might be OK, if you use pesto, because Hollandaise is too strong. You want mild flavored meats here, not strong ones. Salamis, pastramis, Italian sausage, all work better with cheeses over the delicate flavor of Hollandaise. Prosciutto is usually so thin and salty, it's flavor cannot overwhelm. But when you move up there are other things to do with eggs and cured meat.

English muffins are supposed to be thick, but a lifetime of Thomas's has left me addicted to them. It's not right, technically, but life cannot be constrained by every rule in the book.

This is simple dish, anyone who can cook, can make it and look like a pro with freaking cold cuts, butter, eggs and English muffins. Hell, for the cooking impared, buy two Egg McMuffins with hash browns, replace their overcooked egg, splash on a Hollandaise sauce and you're a genius.

If you have minimal skill in the kitchen, I mean boiling eggs kind, this is boiled egg without the shell. Just don't overcook the yolk. If you're afraid of sauce, this is as simple as it gets, butter, lemon and egg yolk. Make it in the blender, for God's sake.

There are some dishes which are sublime (my new favorite word) because they are both elegant and simple. This is one of them. I wouldn't eat it every day, but I can make it and will eat it on occasion.

posted by Steve @ 4:19:00 PM

4:19:00 PM

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