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Brunch Time: Eggs Benedict Recipe

October 21, 2009

Eggs Benedict done in classic style at Michael's.

Eggs Benedict is one of the most sumptuous offerings of a classic brunch. Yet it’s also easy to make at home, if you know how.

Key to success, as Michael notes in Welcome to Michael’s: Don’t overcook the eggs!  The yolks should be runny when you cut into them. To achieve this goal, follow the egg poaching instructions carefully in this recipe from Michael’s book.

And if you want to play around with the classic, Michael suggests that you try replacing the ham with smoked salmon or spinach (or both), and garnish the eggs with some shaved truffles or top them with a spoonful of caviar.

Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 8 very fresh large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 Bays English muffins, split
  • Approximately 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • Eight 1/4-inch-thick slices ham, cut into rounds to fit the English muffins
  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Have a large bowl of ice water ready and set aside.

Place about 2 1/2 inches of water in a large skillet.  Add the vinegar and place over high heat.  Bring to a gentle boil.

Working with one at a time, crack open an egg and carefully slide it into the simmering vinegar-water; repeat with the remaining eggs.  Cook the eggs for about 2 minutes or until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.  If the edges of the eggs are ragged, trim them with kitchen shears.  Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the eggs to the ice water.

Preheat the oven to low.  Toast the English muffins and immediately spread them with butter.  Place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep warm.

Heat a nonstick grill pan over high heat.  Add the ham and fry, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until hot and nicely marked.  Remove from the pan and transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

Bring a deep sauté pan of water to a simmer over high heat,  Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the eggs from the ice water to the simmering water.  Heat for exactly 2 minutes.

Place 2 English muffin halves on each of 4 plates.  Place a piece of ham on top of each muffin.

Working quickly, so that everything remains hot, hold a clean kitchen towel in one hand and, with a slotted spoon, carefully lift an egg from the water.  Lay the spoon on the towel to absorb the excess water. Gently place 1 egg on top of each ham-topped muffin. Spoon an equal portion of Hollandaise Sauce over each egg, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 very fresh large egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup warm clarified butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Combine the egg yolks and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Using a whisk, beat the mixture for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are thick, pale yellow, and fluffy.  Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the eggs with curdle.

Remove from the heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add the butter.  When incorporated, whisk in the lemon juice and salt and white pepper to taste.  If the sauce seems too thick , whisk in a few drops of warm water.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a bowl of warm water for no more than 30 minutes or so.

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