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The Ultimate Eggs Benedict

Maybe I should check my horoscope because I feel like it's my lucky week. Last Thursday it was National Grilled Cheese Day (my all-time favorite simple sandwich) and today is National Eggs Benedict Day (my all-time favorite brunch dish)! Although I would love to tell you exactly how this delicious poached egg masterpiece received its name, I can't because the exact origins of the dish remain unclear. I will confess that I've never made homemade Eggs Benedict. Well not completely, I know how to make a perfect poached egg but I usually use store bought Hollandaise Sauce (I hate to admit that!). For some strange unknown reason I am afraid to make this mixture of egg yolk, lemon juice, and butter sauce. Since it's National Eggs Benedict Day, perhaps I'll give it a try. To join me in the egg-cellent adventure,

Eggs Benedict
From Epicurean

4 Canadian bacon slices
2 Teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 English muffins
4 Eggs
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped herbs for garnishing (optional)
Hollandaise Sauce:
2 Egg yolks at room temperature
2 Teaspoons heavy cream at room temperature
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and heated until bubbling but not brown (see note)
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice at room temperature
1 Teaspoon white wine vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Put the Canadian bacon in a large nonstick skillet. Set over a burner but do not turn on the burner. Put 2 ovenproof plates in the oven to warm.
  3. Fill a medium nonstick skillet nearly to the rim with water. Add the kosher salt and vinegar and bring to a simmer over high heat. Alternatively, fill an egg poacher with water and season with salt.
  4. To make the Hollandaise Sauce: put the egg yolks, cream, the 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and cayenne in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and frothy, 2 to 3 seconds.
  5. With the blender still on high speed, add the hot butter in a thin, steady stream, then add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Season with kosher salt to taste and a generous pinch of sugar.
  6. Transfer the sauce to a microwave-safe cup or bowl. Alternatively, put the sauce in the top pan of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  7. Cut the English muffins in half and lightly toast them.
  8. Carefully break an egg into a cup and slide it into the simmering water, or into the cups of an egg poacher. Repeat with the remaining eggs. (Arrange the eggs in a clockwise pattern in the skillet so you will know which one you put in first. Remove the eggs in the same order.) Remove the skillet from the heat and cook until the yolks are medium-firm, 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, heat the Canadian bacon over high heat until slightly crisp, about 1 minute.
  10. Place 2 English muffin halves on each of warmed plates.
  11. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon.
  12. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift out each egg and drain over the skillet. Blot the eggs lightly with a paper towel. Gently place 1 egg on top of each Canadian bacon slice.
  13. If not keeping the hollandaise sauce warm in a double boiler, warm it in the microwave for about 10 seconds and pour generously on top of the eggs and around the English muffins. Season with pepper to taste and garnish with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Heat the butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until it begins to boil. In order for the egg yolks to thicken the sauce, the butter must be very hot and the egg yolks, cream, and lemon juice must be at room temperature when you begin blending.

Make ahead: hollandaise sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.To reheat the sauce, warm it in the microwave in 10-second increments until warm but not hot. (If the sauce gets too hot, it will separate.) Alternatively, put the sauce in the top pan of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. When entertaining, the eggs can be cooked several hours in advance. After poaching the eggs, transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Store them in the ice water in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Reheat the eggs by lowering them into a pan of simmering water for about 45 seconds. Drain and serve as directed.

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