Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Eggs Benedict, Julia Style

I have to admit, Eggs Benedict is a totally American invention and not included in the awesome tome that is MtAoFC.   BUT, Eggs Benedict is an English Muffin topped with Canadian Bacon, a Poached Egg & Hollandaise Sauce and Julia does include 2 basic Hollandaise Sauce Recipes (and of course more variations than I care to think about) as well as an awesome tutorial on poaching an egg.

Hollandaise Sauce
Julia gives 2 separate recipes for hollandaise sauce.  One for an electric blender that she describes as "fool-proof" and one by hand.  Why would you make it with a whisk when the blender recipe is so easy? "...we feel it is of great importance that you learn to make hollandaise by hand, for part of every good cook's general knowledge is a thorough familiarity with the vagaries of egg yolks under all conditions."  Yeah Julia, thanks.  Maybe another day, but I've got to get to church on time this morning, I'll just grab the blender.
A blender, mind you, which could have easily been in Julia Child's 1960's kitchen.  Don't hate, it's awesome.  I did have one of those margarita blenders, but I traded my brother for this glass-jarred beauty when he got a place of his own.  Figured he'd get more use out of it.  

Blender Sauce: pgs. 81-82

Put 3 egg yolks, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper in the blender and blend for a few seconds.  Drizzle one stick of thoroughly melted butter (she says to use a sauce pan, but I microwaved it) slowly into the sauce, stopping when you get to the creamy stuff at the bottom.

Creamy Stuff

That's it! Easy, Peasy.

Poached Eggs
pgs. 117-118

"It behooves us to choose eggs carefully and to treat them right" - Julia Child

Bring 2 in deep water with a Tbsp. vinegar to a simmer in a saucier or skillet.  You will need to have either VERY FRESH eggs, or simmer them for 8-10 sec. in their shell, then break eggs gently into simmering water, using a spoon to fold the white over the yolk if necessary.  Let simmer for 4 minutes.  If not eating immediately, place in a bowl of cold water.

The reason you want fresh or pre-simmered eggs is that fresh egg whites have a better hold of their yolk.  In my rush to get things done this morning, one of the eggs didn't get a full 8-10 seconds and it wound up in my first truly messed up poached egg ever.  It still tasted fine though.

Assemble: Toasted English Muffin, Warmed Canadian Bacon (I sent Nick to the store for Canadian bacon, even explained that it's just ham slices and he still came home with american bacon... oh well), poached egg, sauce.  Since we had reg. bacon, I used Alton Brown's baked bacon method, it's awesome.  


Never having had hollandaise sauce before, it was a little more tart than I was expecting (lemon juice will do that) but good nonetheless.  Canadian bacon would have made it easier to eat with a fork, and lemme tell you, picking it up was messy business.  Good experience overall, though.  

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