Thursday, November 1, 2012

Salmon Eggs Benedict

Eggs benedict is the quintessential Sunday brunch meal. I never ordered it because I am not a fan of the Canadian bacon. But in a little beach cafe in Sydney, Australia, they serve eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead, where the inspiration for this dish came. 

Now the first time I decided to tackle eggs benedict I was staying over at my parent’s house with Ryan. My mom and I got out all of her recipe books with hollandaise sauce in them and spread them all over the table.  We tried to comparing the minute details for 15 different recipes (I think we chose one by eenie, meenie, miney, mo). The next morning there were 4 of us crowded around the stove using 3 burners all working on a different component of the meal. Let’s just call it organized chaos.

After making salmon eggs benedict on our own half a dozen times, Ryan and I have finally perfected the meal. Yes, that might sound daunting, but it is well worth it. Especially when you see it on the menu for $15, and you are like “Psh….I can make a better version at home.”

Start with the hollandaise sauce...whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice.

Pour in melted butter.

If it looks like this, your water was too hot. Start over. :(

Ohh....that's better.

Now, we poach some eggs. Be sure to add the vinegar.

Make a whirlpool.

And we build. Toast.




Your beautiful poached egg.

Gorgeous hollandaise sauce.

Pepper and perfection. 

Recipe inspired by Coogee Bite Cafe, Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia

2 pieces of toast or english muffins
Hollandaise sauce, recipe follows
2 poached eggs, recipe follows
2 pieces of smoked salmon or leftover salmon from the night before
Optional garnishs: sauteed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocados

Bring the water to boil for the eggs. Meanwhile, prepare the hollandaise sauce and set aside. While you are cooking the first egg, prepare optional garnishes if you choose. While cooking the second egg, toast your bread and heat up your salmon if you are using leftovers.

Now that all of the components are prepped, its time to build.  In the center of the plate, place the toast, followed by the spinach and mushrooms (if using), then the salmon, and the poached egg. Add a few drops of water to the hollandaise sauce, if it has thickened and pour over the egg. Finish with salt and fresh cracked pepper and diced tomatoes (optional).

Hollandaise Sauce:

2 egg yolks
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled 
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water, the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble (this part is serious...see my picture as proof). Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Poached Eggs:

It probably took me a couple of dozen eggs before I got a perfectly runny yoke. Just be patient, and once you finally get it you will be very proud of yourself.

2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
4 large whole eggs

Pour enough water into a 3-quart dutch over to measure no less than 2 1/2-inches, place over high heat, and bring to 190 degrees F. Add the vinegar. Crack each egg into a custard cup, careful not to break the yoke (if you do break the yoke, save it for scrambled eggs). Using a rubber spatula, create a whirlpool in the simmering water. Lower 1 cup into the water until it touches bottom and gently pour in the egg. After a few seconds, gently scoop the egg off the bottom of the pot so that it is floating, Cook for 4 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place on a tea towel lined plate. Bring the water back to temperature and cook the second egg. Don’t worry about the floating white pieces of the previous egg. Eggs may be stored in ice water in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Serve eggs when the second egg is done.

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