We're challenging you to take on the ultimate breakfast dish: eggs Benedict. You know, that classic pile-up of toasted English muffins topped with seared Canadian bacon, poached eggs and creamy hollandaise sauce you usually reserve for weekend brunch plans. Now, it's time to make it at home.
With only eight ingredients, this dish is all about technique. So we're here to help break it down for you.
We stick to tradition by using clarified butter to make our hollandaise sauce, which means separating the pure butterfat from the milk solids and straining out the latter. Clarified butter can withstand hotter cooking without the risk of the milk solids burning. But those solids are still full of flavor, so we use them to brush onto our English muffins before toasting.
This recipe is definitely all about multitasking to make sure all the components make it to the plate hot and perfect. Though the hollandaise has to be made à la minute, the eggs can be poached in advance. Simply drop the poached eggs into an ice water bath after poaching, then store them in individual small bowls with a little bit of water. Before you serve, drop the eggs into a pot of water at poaching temperature (180°) to warm them through, and then you're ready to get some great yolk porn for the 'gram.
To learn more, read “TT Culinary Institute: Eggs Benedict.”
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 English muffins, opened
6 ounces (6 slices) thick-cut Canadian bacon
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
6 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
1. Make the clarified butter: Heat a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water over medium heat until steaming. Place a medium heatproof glass bowl over the steaming water. Place the butter in the bowl and let it melt completely until the butter has separated and the milk solids have sunk to the bottom of the bowl, 10 minutes.
2. Skim any milk solids that may be floating on the top, then slowly pour the clarified butter through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. You want to pour out only the clear yellow butter. Stop pouring as soon as the opaque milk solids are left, reserving both the clarified butter and milk solids separately, and keeping the clarified butter warm.
3. Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the English muffins on a sheet pan, nooks and crannies side up, and brush each with the reserved milk solids. Bake until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Keep warm.
4. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Keep warm.
5. Prepare a large pot of salted water and add the vinegar. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and heat to 180°, where there is visible steam coming off the surface of the pot, but the water is not simmering.
6. Meanwhile, make the hollandaise sauce: Refill the small saucepan from step 1 with an inch of water and heat over medium until steaming. Place another medium heatproof glass bowl over the steaming water.
7. To the bowl, add the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Whisk constantly until the egg yolks are pale yellow and thick, 1 to 2 minutes. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in ½ cup of the warm clarified butter (reserve any extra for other uses) until thick and creamy. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Keep warm.
8. Poach the eggs: Once the pot of vinegar water comes to 180°, crack the whole eggs into 6 small bowls. Use a slotted spoon to make a whirlpool in the water. Then, one at a time, drop the eggs into the center of the pot. Poach, gently stirring occasionally until the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, line up 3 plates. Place an English muffin on each plate, then top each half with a slice of Canadian bacon. As soon as the eggs are poached, remove them with a slotted spoon and dab on a paper towel to dry before placing over the Canadian bacon. Spoon some hollandaise over each egg, then sprinkle with more cayenne and serve.