There’s nothing better on a Sunday morning than a lie-in, followed swiftly by Eggs Benedict. Usually we have Eggs Benedict at the wonderful local deli who catered our wedding last summer, but when Andre has been a particularly good husband, I make Eggs Benedict for him from scratch. Yup, including the hollandaise sauce.
Usually I then spoil the effect by demanding that he compliments my supreme cooking skills with every mouthful but c’mon, it’s homemade Eggs Benedict, credit must be paid!
I also add spinach, so it's a kind of Benedict/Florentine mash-up. I guess we're trying to convince ourselves that by adding spinach, we're actually eating healthily :-)
Here are the ingredients – you need eggs, spinach, a lemon, prosciutto, bread (I am using pain au levain here, but traditionally you would use a bagel, or a muffin). Oh, and a LOT of butter. This is not a meal for the faint-hearted. Be warned, you will probably put on weight just reading this recipe:
Making Eggs Benedict is all about the timing. You have to wilt spinach, toast bread, make hollandaise sauce, poach eggs, and have the whole lot ready at the exact same moment in order to layer it into a carefully contrived pile of deliciousness.
So here’s how I do it. First up, wash and chop some spinach. Put the spinach in a pan with a splash of water, and cover and turn the heat onto low. Then put a pan of water on to boil for the poached eggs. Slice some bread and drop it into the toaster (don’t turn it on yet):
The next task is to make the hollandaise sauce. Put an egg yolk (not the white) into a small pan, and add some salt and pepper, and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, depending on how lemony you want the sauce to taste.
Note that you cannot add lemon juice once the sauce has cooked, so you have to add as much as you need now. Chop 45g of butter into small pieces:
The spinach will have cooked by now, so turn the heat off, and leave the lid on so it stays warm. The water will probably have boiled as well, so turn it down to a low simmer.
Whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice and seasoning, and then set over the lowest heat possible. Drop in a piece of butter, and stir like crazy until it has mixed into the eggs. Then drop in another piece, and stir some more:
Continue doing this until you have added around half the butter – at which stage, quickly crack the eggs into the pan of water for them to poach, and turn on the toaster.
Go straight back to the hollandaise sauce and continue adding the butter and stirring like mad. Do not at any stage turn the heat up, or do anything insane like trying to add more lemon juice (both will make the eggs curdle and look fully gross). Once you have stirred in all the butter, the sauce is finished – turn off the heat immediately.
By the stage, the eggs will have poached, and the toast will have popped out of the toaster. Butter the toast (yep, because you haven’t used quite enough butter in the hollandaise sauce, so it is imperative that you add that crucial extra butter by slathering it on the toast), and add a mound of spinach on top:
Next up, drop a couple of slices of prosciutto onto the spinach. Then add the poached eggs – and finally, top with a good few dollops of the hollandaise sauce, and some black pepper. Ah, bliss. There’s nothing better on a Sunday morning, take it from me:
You’d better make sure you set aside a couple of hours afterwards to recover from the butter intake, though. This is one fierce dish!
Back tomorrow with some photos of the bulb-planting marathon that I undertook over the weekend. Catch you later!