Eggs Benedict 101

Spring. It's coming. Easter brunch. Just around the corner.
Grant's favorite dish for breakfast/brunch? Eggs Benedict. A few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. How complicated could this be? Eggs, ham, a few English muffins and some sauce. 
Oh, helloooo,  sauce. 
Hollandaise. Turns out, this is the crux of the dish. 
I like this word. 
crux  (krks)
n.  crux  The basic, central, or critical point or feature

Here's what I learned while making Eggs Benedict, or Si's EB 101:

1. Rich, rich, rich. The two essential ingredients for making a great smooth Hollandaise are egg yolks and BUTTER. Eight ounces. Yes.  One.  Full . Cup.
2. The butter must be cold.
3. You don't need an instant read thermometer.  The key is whisk, whisk, whisk.  I whisked my arm off and my sauce was perfecto
4. There are about 1001 ways to make EB. And 1001 varieties such as California Benedict, Veggie lovers Benedict, Seafood Benedict, Curry Benedict,  etc. most available on the www.
5. Not a dish to make when you are in a hurry. Definitely a Saturday or Sunday venture. 
6. I didn't keep my sauce in a thermos as suggested, just turned the heat off, and warmed the sauce up at a low heat again when plating the last few servings (about 30 minutes from the first serving to the last... yes I'm a short order cook).
7. You may make either the eggs or the sauce first, and keep one heated, while preparing the rest of the dish.  I preferred making the sauce first. 
8.  If you want to watch simple tutorials about EB  for poached eggs, Hollandaise and overall assembly, look up any of these on YouTube.  Amazing how many folks are willing to share their knowledge. 
9. Hardly anyone makes their own Hollandaise anymore. Most restaurants and home cooks use mixes and/or the blender method.  
10. This is worth the time. And calories. About once a year. Promise.

Eggs Benedict
A Bountiful Kitchen

8 slices Canadian Bacon, warmed 
8 eggs, poached
4 English muffins, sliced in half, toasted and lightly buttered, if desired ( I thought 1 cup of butter in the sauce was enough)
Hollandaise Sauce

Prepare Hollandaise Sauce and set aside to keep warm.  
Place a two slices of toasted English muffin on a plate.  Place Canadian Bacon on top of English muffin halves. Spoon a poached egg on top of the meat slice. Top with about 2 tablespoons of Hollandaise Sauce.  Serve immediately, or if serving family style, lay all bread slices on platter and follow directions for assembly. Cover pan with foil and keep in oven on low until ready to serve, not more than an hour before serving. 

Alton Brown's Hollandaise Sauce
Food Network

3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, divided
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained, divided
8 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Whisk together the egg yolks, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a 2 quart pan (preferably a saucier) for  1 minute.
Put the saucier over low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on and off the heat every 10 to 15 seconds, bringing the mixture to 140 to 145 degrees F, on an instant read thermometer, approximately 3 minutes.  Add 1 piece of butter at a time, every 30 seconds, while continually whisking and moving the pan on and off the heat. Maintain temperature around 120 to 130 degrees F throughout the remainder of the cooking process.  Once half of the butter, or 8 pieces have been added, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Add the remaining 8 pieces of butter, 1 at a time, every 30 seconds while continuing to move the pan on and off the heat maintaining 120 to 130 degrees F. After the last piece of butter has been added, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.  Add the sugar and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes.  
Taste and add more lemon juice, as desired.  Move immediately to a short, wide mouthed thermos to hold sauce for up to 2 hours.  Reheat over low heat for 45 seconds. 

Perfect Poached Eggs
Cook's Illustrated

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
8 large eggs, each cracked into a small cup
ground black pepper

Fill an 8-10 inch skillet nearly to rim with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and the vinegar and bring mixture to boil over high heat. (I filled to within about an inch of the top of pan)
Working in two batches, cooking 4 eggs at a time, lower the lip of each cup into water at once, tip eggs into boiling water, cover and remove from heat.  Poach until yolks are medium firm, exactly four minutes, or for extra large or jumbo eggs, about 4 1/2 minutes. For looser egg yolks, poach 3 minutes. 
With slotted spoon, carefully lift and drain each egg over skillet. Set on warmed plate or platter and cover  with foil until ready to use. Keep in a warm place or in oven set to 275 degrees.

-I did not remove the pan from the heat off and on as Alton suggests. I simply placed the butter in the pan one tablespoon at a time, when the butter melted, I would add another pat of butter, and so on. 
-Did not use a thermometer. Just whisked until all of the butter was melted and incorporated as the recipe suggests. 
-If you are preparing the eggs first, cook the eggs for 3 instead of four minutes, properly poached eggs will still have a bit of a runny yolk.  If you are keeping the eggs warm for later use, the egg will continue to cook a bit in the oven. 
-The sauce in this recipe will be enough for 8 English muffin halves. 


  1. I love poaches eggs and this look yummy!!!! gloria

  2. ha. "tell us how you really feel." that's making me laugh. so is the "i'm a short order cook" comment. weird, i thought you always said "i'm not a short order cook!" growing up. this looks so nummy. i kind of wish i didn't know how much butter EB contains. i always get that at eggs in the city/market street.

  3. mother- not fair. this looks DELICIOUS. next time i'm home we can change this from a "once a year" recipe to maybe "twice a year?"


  4. Yes, C, NOW that I only have one child at home (and your father) I AM now a short order cook :)
    And yes, Brookie, if you are really, really sweet, maybe I'll make this for you.

  5. I am having a heart attack as I look at the pictures. Soooooooo delicious and soooooo bad for me.

  6. Oh yum this is one of my favorites! I enjoyed my visit to your blog. Hugs!

  7. This is my favorite brunch treat hands down. I am so glad I visited your blog to get my fix. So much less fattening than actually eating it.Great tips on cooking the eggs and making the sauce.

  8. oh yum yum yum! my husband would really love these!


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