A short way off of the Sidney Spit, big winds brewing a hungry crew eager to set sail. My turn, I’m up: breakfast time. Two dozen eggs have been precariously bobbing along in a break-shell mess of beer cans and sturdy provisions in the fridge. “Why, oh why, did I think fancy Eggs Benedict on a boat was a good idea?!” Every bowl and every pan on the boat is in use. Chaos. (Good thing I don’t have to do the dishes.) And then, overwhelming joy at the first bite of lemon-heavy Hollandaise goodness. The paprika topped sauce joins with the silkiness of a perfectly poached egg. And CRUNCH, the bacon, the crispy bacon, packs a punch of salt and texture. The first bite, the flavour, the last bite, the mmhmmmm… magnificent!
Prep & Portions:
You’re going to need some eggs. Recommended serving: 2 Eggs Benedict per person. Add extra Hollandaise for a hungry, salty crew. It is not necessary to be on a boat to prepare this recipe, I guess. It typically takes 30-45 minutes to prepare.
Ingredients for Four Servings:
- 1 package of bacon, cut in half (not maple bacon, not ham, not smoked salmon, bacon bacon)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (salted is fine, just skip the pinch of salt)
- Lemon juice from one lemon (~2 tbsp)
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 english muffins cut in half (“english muffins” are the best)
- 1 tbsp of butter for muffins
- 8 large eggs (2 per person)
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- ~1 tsp of paprika
- Fresh chopped or dried green stuff for “wow factor”, like parsley
- Fry the bacon. None of that oven stuff. You’re going to make a mess anyways. When you think it is crispy, cook it for 30 more seconds. Set on paper towel to drain the grease (or don’t…) and cover to keep warm.
2a) While your bacon is frying, assemble the ingredients for your Hollandaise sauce – the topping for your eggs. You will need the egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and pinch of cayenne. Prepare a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, use a saucepan and stainless steel or glass bowl. Add water to your double boiler or saucepan, and make sure the water is not touching the bottom of your bowl. (If using the saucepan and bowl method, use a bowl that fits in your saucepan, but does not touch the bottom of it – it should hang over the edges of your saucepan.)
2b) Bring the water in your double broiler or saucepan to a boil. Melt the butter in your broiler or bowl, stirring often. While the butter is melting, quickly whisk together your egg yolks, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and pinch of cayenne in a separate bowl. Add your egg mixture to your warm butter and whisk rapidly. Your butter should not be hot or boiling, rather it should be just melted and it’s ok if it is not completely melted. Under moderate to high heat, continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Whisk, whisk, whisk, or you will FAIL! It will be noticeably thick. It typically takes 5-10 minutes and will vary depending on your equipment.
2c) Remove your Hollandaise from the heat and continue to stir for about a minute to avoid curdling. Cover your bowl to keep warm. Save the hot water in your boiler or saucepan for later.
3a) Split in half, toast and butter the muffins. This can also be done while you are poaching your eggs though it takes a bit of coordination.
3b) Plate your English Muffins and top each half with two (half) pieces of bacon. Half pieces of bacon should fit almost perfectly, with a bit of an overlap. Eggs Benedict are a great dish to plate and serve. Serve with a fork and sharp knife.
4a) Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add your white vinegar. White vinegar keeps your eggs together and makes life easy. Crack open and drop in as many eggs as will comfortably fit into your pot. I recommend adding all of the eggs so that they come out at the same time. If you are a beginner to poached eggs, I suggest doing it in batches and adding an extra egg or two as a backup.
4b) Poach your eggs in near boiling water for exactly 3 minutes for the perfect blend of cooked whites and runny yolks. Remove your eggs using a slotted spoon and drop on to paper towel or clean kitchen towel. GENTLY remove any excess water.
5a) Quickly top your English Muffins and crispy bacon with your poached eggs. You don’t want your poached eggs getting cold as they’re going to warm up your other ingredients.
5b) Quickly restore your Hollandaise by adding about 1 tsp of your hot water from your double broiler or saucepan to your sauce. Whisk. Add more water to reduce the thickness if required. Avoid reheating.
5c) Top your poached eggs with the Hollandaise sauce. Add a pinch of Paprika to each for colour and a hint of smokiness. Add something green on top to garnish. Ta da!
This recipe has been served on boats in Desolation Sound, BC all the way down to Cape Horn in Patagonia!
- The magic with Eggs Benedict is timing. Plan ahead with your ingredients and the steps to serve it up hot and fresh.
- If you botch your Hollandaise and it gets chunky, remove it from the heat and crack in one additional egg yolk. This should bring it back to the right consistency.
- Save the egg whites from your Hollandaise and use them to make Meringue Candy Kisses.
- Balsamic vinegar can be substituted for white vinegar in a pinch, though it’ll turn your poached eggs brown.
- Top with smoked salt for a unique flavour twist.
- No English Muffins? Use a round cup to punch out round holes from a piece of bread to make “fake” English Muffins.