This classic recipe for eggs benedict is the ultimate brunch dish. A toasted, buttery English muffin topped with a slice of smokey, seared Canadian bacon, perfectly poached eggs, and a rich, creamy hollandaise sauce makes for a decadent treat usually reserved for Sunday brunch. But, believe it or not, you CAN make it at home!
I remember exactly the first time that I ate eggs benedict. I was in my early 20s, at my very first business breakfast meeting feeling so adult, where they served…yep, eggs benedict.
I had no idea what this was, but peer pressure caused me to not question it and just dig in. Can I tell you, it was almost a spiritual experience. I remember marveling at the textures of the crunchy muffin, the silky egg yolks, and the sauce. Oh Lord, the sauce. I was hooked.
For years, I would order any variation of eggs benedict that I could find and loved them all. But as much as I adored this dish, it felt too daunting to tackle on my own – poaching eggs, whipping up a perfect hollandaise sauce. I mean, who can get a pretty poached egg without all those gross, slimy white tendrils? And what about a sauce that will separate if you look at it crooked? But guess what? It isn’t daunting at all.
Once I figured out how to make each ‘difficult’ component, the recipe was no longer ‘daunting’. And once you master a classic hollandaise sauce, you will want to drizzle it on everything from poached or baked fish, steamed vegetables, to using it as a dip for asparagus spears or artichoke leaves. You will love making this for guests, weekend brunch, or even for an early dinner.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CLASSIC RECIPE FOR EGGS BENEDICT
- Use really fresh eggs. Older eggs have a more watery white. Fresh eggs will have whites that keep their shape when cracked into a pan.
- Crack each egg into a small bowl and then gently pour the egg into a fine-mesh strainer. This will allow the watery part of the white to drip away before you slide the egg into barely simmering water.
- Use clarified butter which is pure butterfat that has been separated from the white milk solids. Clarified butter can be heated to a higher temperature since it is the milk solids that can burn. Don’t throw away the foamy milk solids from your clarified butter. These are delicious drizzled on vegetables or popcorn. For this recipe, we are going to spread them onto the English muffins.
- Remember to very slowly drizzle the clarified butter while whisking the hollandaise sauce. You want an emulsified mayonnaise-like consistency. Pour the butter in too fast, and the sauce will separate.
HOW TO FIX A SEPARATED HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
Nothing is more disheartening than whisking a hollandaise sauce only to find that it has separated. Not to worry, there are a couple of ways to salvage the sauce.
- Try whisking one or two teaspoons of boiling water into the sauce a drop at a time. Whisk vigorously. OR
- Put an egg yolk into a medium bowl. Very slowly whisk the separated sauce into the egg yolk.
You’ll love these recipes to complete your decadent brunch:Print
This classic recipe for eggs benedict is the ultimate brunch dish. A toasted, buttery English muffin topped with a slice of smokey, seared Canadian bacon, perfectly poached eggs and a rich, creamy hollandaise sauce makes for a decadent treat usually reserved for Sunday brunch. Now you can make it at home!
For the clarified butter:
- 4 sticks butter (1 pound)
For the hollandaise sauce:
- 4 extra large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 12 tablespoons clarified butter
- 1 teaspoon good quality Dijon mustard
- Few drops of hot sauce, to taste
For the poached eggs:
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 8 extra large eggs
- Kosher salt
For the assembly:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 slices Canadian bacon
- 4 English muffins, split
- Milk solids from the clarified butter
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- Flaked sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat. Set aside.
- Make the clarified butter. In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, place the pound of butter. Slowly melt the butter. This will take several minutes. Don’t stir the butter as it melts.
- Once the butter has melted, a foamy white layer will form on the top. Use a small spoon to skim the foam from the golden liquid below into a small dish. Set the dish aside.
- Remove the clarified butter from the heat. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a small heat-proof bowl. Line the strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
- Tilt the saucepan and slowly pour the golden liquid into the cheesecloth. Pour only the golden fat. Skim off any white solids or leave them in the bottom of the pan.
- You can pour the clarified butter into a container, cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Make the hollandaise sauce. Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
- In a glass or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume.
- Place the bowl over barely simmering water. Be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Continually whisk the egg and lemon mixture vigorously. Keep the eggs moving and don’t allow them to get too hot or they will scramble.
- Very slowly, a few drops at a time, drizzle in the melted butter. Continue to whisk the sauce until it is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the dijon mustard and hot sauce. Place the bowl over the warm water. Be sure that all heat has been turned off. You only want to keep the sauce warm.
- Next poach the eggs. Fill a medium sized pot with about 4-inches of water. Add the vinegar and a healthy amount of salt. The water should taste a bit like the sea. Bring to a simmer, but not boiling.
- Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Slide the egg into a fine mesh strainer and allow the watery part of the white drip into the sink or another bowl.
- Lower the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Remove the eggs after 4 minutes for a very runny yolk or 5 minutes for a thicker yolk.
- Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs out of the water and place onto a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
- While the eggs are poaching, begin to sear the Canadian bacon. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add the bacon and allow to cook until golden brown and crispy around the edges-about 6 minutes.
- Toast the English muffins in the oven. Using the milk solids saved from the clarified butter, brush each muffin half with the milk solids. Place the muffins onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted about 5 – 6 minutes.
- Assemble the dish. On four plates, place 2 muffin halves. Top each with a slice of Canadian bacon, then a poached egg.
- Spoon hollandaise sauce over the egg, allowing it to drip over the sides. Garnish with chopped chives, flaky sea salt and black pepper.
- Serving Size: 1
Check out this great video on how to clarify butter: