- May 2018
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 50 minutes
Who invented eggs benedict is a matter for debate, says Debbie Major – but what’s not up for argument are the ingredients: two lightly toasted English muffin halves, good bacon, poached eggs and velvety hollandaise. It’s the best brunch with which to kick off a long, lazy weekend, and is a winner served as breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or to spoil someone you love on their birthday.
Want to try something different? This version eggs benedict swaps the muffins for smoky sweetcorn fritters.
- 72.3g (37.6g saturated)
- 30g (2.8g sugars)
- 8 maple-cured back bacon slices
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 English muffins
- 8 large, very fresh free-range eggs
- 1 tbsp chopped chives for the hollandaise sauce
- 225g unsalted butter, plus extra, softened, to spread
- 2 large free-range egg yolks
- Juice ½ lemon
- Pinch cayenne pepper, plus extra to sprinkle
- Put the bacon on the grill tray ready for cooking. Half-fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Split the muffins and line a baking tray with kitchen paper.
- Next, poach the eggs in 2 batches of four. Turn the vinegar water to a very gentle simmer (a few bubbles at the base of the pan, but no more). Break an egg into a teacup, then slide it into the pan. Repeat 3 times, then cook for 3 minutes. Carefully lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon onto the lined baking tray. Repeat with the other 4 eggs. Cover the poached eggs with cling film (or with a large upturned bowl) and set aside. Leave the water on a gentle simmer.
- For the hollandaise sauce, put the butter in a small pan and leave over a very low heat until melted. Carefully skim off any foam from the surface, then pour the clear melted butter into a small bowl, leaving behind the milky liquid that will have settled on the base of the pan. Discard the milky liquid, wipe the pan clean, then return the clear melted butter to the pan and put over a low heat.
- Fill a medium pan with about 5cm water and bring to a simmer. Sit a medium heatproof glass bowl over the pan without the base touching the water. Add the egg yolks and 2 tbsp cold water and whisk by hand or with an electric hand mixer until thick and mousse-like – it needs to feel warm when you dip in your little finger.
- Heat the grill to high. Increase the heat under the pan of clarified butter until it’s gently bubbling and hot. Remove the bowl containing the egg yolks from over the pan and very gradually drizzle in the hot clarified butter, whisking all the time, until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Whisk in the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Cover the bowl with cling film, sit it back over the pan of hot water and set aside off the heat.
- Toast the muffins until golden. Meanwhile, grill the bacon for 1-2 minutes until just cooked through but not crisp. Slide the poached eggs back into the just-simmering water and leave for 30 seconds. Reline the baking tray with kitchen paper, then lift out the eggs onto the tray and leave to drain briefly.
- Put 2 muffin halves on each of 4 warmed plates, spread with a little butter and top each half with a bacon rasher and a poached egg. Spoon some of the hollandaise sauce over each egg, sprinkle with chives and a little extra cayenne pepper and serve straightaway.
Lightly poach the eggs a few hours in advance and keep covered in the fridge. Drop into simmering water to reheat.
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