Is there any tastier breakfast in the world than eggs benedict? We don’t think so. We recognize that some people flinch from a meal which has such a high-calorie content but as an occasional treat – we think the taste justifies the extra work in the gym afterward.
But how do you make the perfect eggs benedict? What goes into this very simple dish to make it stand out from the crowd? Well, we’ve been working hard to develop the perfect eggs benedict here at Kitchen Authority and we think that we’ve got it cracked (excuse the pun).
One thing we weren’t able to determine was the correct capitalization of the dish. Some chefs use eggs benedict, some use eggs Benedict and a few outliers use Eggs Benedict. We’ve gone without any capitals but this is purely a style choice; it’s not definitive.
The dish, however, is said to be named after Lemuel Benedict who is said to have created the dish in the Waldorf Hotel in 1894. The trouble is that Delmonico’s, of lower Manhattan, has convincing evidence that they were cooking a dish called Eggs a la Benedick in 1860. There is even a claim that Commodore E C Benedict created the dish in the 1960s! So, this is the other thing we couldn’t determine – who invented eggs benedict.
A Tale Of Two Parts
An eggs benedict is really two dishes combined. The first part is the easiest to prepare because it’s basically meat on posh toast. The second, however, is the real challenge and that’s the hollandaise sauce. It’s so simple but it is considered to be one of the biggest challenges in cooking because of its simplicity; if you get the sauce wrong, there’s no place to hide.
In fact, hollandaise is often one of the very final tests of a chef’s ability to deliver at catering school. So, one of the things we thought very hard about during the development of this recipe was the sauce – how easy could we make it without losing the edge that defines a great hollandaise? We think, that we’ve done very well but the proof, as they say, is in the breakfast muffins with sauce.
Choosing The Right Muffins
The “English muffin” isn’t actually very English. You don’t see this style of muffin on a British dining table very often and when they do eat it – it’s with the same intention as us, for a great eggs benedict.
Yes, the traditional English muffin is our preferred choice of bread for an eggs benedict. We’ve seen many a chef experiment with other bread products, but we just don’t think they work as well.
The English muffin is absorbent enough to mop up the sauce without dominating the dish. And yes, the right option is a white English muffin. No, it’s not healthy but nothing about eggs benedict is particularly healthy and white tastes best here. We tried a variety of other breads and nothing else came close.
Choosing The Right Meat
Wars have been started over less than the ongoing debate over what meat you should serve with an eggs benedict.
Traditionally, the eggs benedict has been served with ham and we don’t think that’s a terrible choice at all. However, many modern chefs argue that Canadian bacon or Parma ham (Serrano or Black Forest are both acceptable alternatives) can be used instead.
We spent many a happy morning before coming to our ruling that we think Parma ham is the way forward. We love Canadian bacon but we find it more awkward to slice with eating implements and that can lead to the destruction of the muffin and make it hard to mop up all the sauce.
If you’d like to be a rebel, there are plenty of other choices though:
- Eggs Blackstone uses streaky bacon and tomato
- Eggs Florentine is more vegetarian-friendly and uses spinach instead of meat
- Eggs Chesapeake uses a Maryland blue crab cake
- Eggs Omar goes with steak
- Eggs Hemingway substitutes salmon for the ham
- Huevos Benedictos goes with avocado and/or chorizo
- Irish Benedict uses corned beef
- Eggs cochon opts for shredded pork
- And Eggs McD switches ham for hash browns!
We’ve tried some of those and enjoyed them (though, we’re not keen on the Eggs McD) but we don’t think you can beat Parma ham, sorry.
Choosing The Right Eggs
The best eggs are the freshest and most organic that you can get your hands on. You don’t need somebody to add chemicals to your eggs and you don’t want to eat eggs that have been lying around for weeks – the sauce if all about the eggs, make them good eggs.
Our Easy Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
You need (for 2 people):
- Egg yolks x 3
- ½ teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ½ cup of butter
Take the ingredients except for the butter and pop them in your blender until they’re smooth. Take the butter and pop it into a microwave container and then melt the butter in your microwave. Keep the blender running and slowly add the butter to the other ingredients. You’ll see the sauce become thicker. Keep this in a warm space and then turn your attention to the eggs benedict itself.
Our Eggs Benedict Recipe
You need (for 2 people):
- White wine vinegar – 4 tablespoons
- 2 x white English Muffins
- 4 x slices of Parma ham
- Our easy Hollandaise sauce from above
You need a big saucepan of water and bring it to the boil. Then add the vinegar. Break the eggs into 4 small dishes (or use cups).
Cut the muffins in half and toast them.
Now, swirl the boiling water so that it forms a vortex in the center. Add an egg. It should form a pleasing shape. Cook for about 3 minutes and then remove the egg from the water (use a slotted spoon) then do this again and again until all the eggs are cooked.
Now, spread some sauce on each side of the muffin. Add a slice of Parma ham. Top with an egg and pour the rest of the sauce on. Perfect eggs benedict is yours. Enjoy!
Eggs benedict is a brilliant breakfast food and we think that if you use our easy Hollandaise sauce recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy it with no stress at all.