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Eggs Benedict: the best breakfast you'll ever have

July 27, 2005 - I loved the time I spent wandering up and down the California coast on U.S. Highway 1.

After I got home I told my girlfriend, now my wife, so many stories about the coast highway we went there to-gether once we could afford a vacation. We went to my sister's to show off our new son as well. She lives on the highway in Oregon.

Anyway, we stopped for breakfast at a hotel in Gold Beach, Ca. one morning and breakfast has never been the same since. Our waitress recommended the Eggs Bene-dict, a dish I had never heard of or tasted.

We've made them ever since and our eggs benedict and Hollandaise Sauce are the best I've ever tasted. Most restaurants, including those at swanky hotels in St. Louis, make the hollandaise from a packet rather than scratch.

You can't blame them, making hollandaise isn't easy when you're trying to do other things at the same time. You can't turn your back on this sauce for a second.

A few random thoughts before I go further: the difference between eggs benedict and eggs florentine is fresh spinach. Eggs benedict are traditionally made with ham, but turkey is great, too. Avocados are wonderful with this meal although not included in the recipe below.

Eggs Benedict

Hollandaise Sauce (See Page XX)

2 eggs per person

1 English muffin per person

4 slices deli ham per person

2 large broccoli flourets per person

Cayenne pepper to taste

Salt to taste

The secret to Eggs Benedict is getting everything ready when the hollandaise sauce is done.

I get a large pot of boiling water going first thing. With boiling water you can heat everything but the muffins.

Once the water boils immerse the broccoli in it for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes I add the ham to the same pan to heat. I don't care if the ham is in water turned green by the broccoli because I do the dishes around my house. I'm lazy, but hey, that food is all going the same place.

Drop the muffins into your toaster to brown.

Pour boiling water into a skillet and then crack two eggs per person and drop them in the water. If you're cooking for more than two people you'll need to work this step in batches. When the egg hits the water take a wooden spoon or anything that won't melt from the heat of boiling water and quickly circle the white and yolk. This will keep them from dispersing in the liquid. We want poached eggs, not egg drop soup.

Obviously, I don't use a lot of cooking gadgets. They're just one more thing to clean.

When the muffins are done start building your plate.

Put the broccoli in the center of the plate. Flank your broccoli flourets with the muffins. Top the muffins with the ham. Top the ham with the poached eggs. Top everything with the hollandaise sauce. Top the sauce with cayenne pepper, but be careful with that stuff because you can't take it back once its on your food and it can be spicy hot.

I like to serve eggs Benedict with hot tea, hash browned potatoes and fresh fruit.

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