Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche – Aug. 24, 2017
On a quick trip to San Antonio last week, we decided to have breakfast at La Madeleine. There are many of the French Country restaurant’s recipes I have cooked at home for us for a number of years, but any time we can eat there and they can make it for us, I say yes.
For our mid-morning breakfast, we each ordered the Parisien Eggs Benedict. Two halves of a croissant, a layer of crisp bacon and slice of ham, eggs poached just right, all drowning in a hollandaise sauce. Garnished with parsley flakes with a couple tomato slices on the side, it kept us full until late in the afternoon.
Parisien Eggs Benedict at La Madeleine
I can’t recall the last time I ate Eggs Benedict. I usually skip over it if it’s a menu choice. What a fool I’ve been. Admittedly, Eggs Benedict always brings to mind images of fancy brunches with champagne fountains flowing… although I can’t say that image comes from anywhere but my imagination. My normal brunch-time meal is Eggs with Fried Tortillas/Chilequiles, slathered with salsa. Eggs Benedict always seemed much too complicated to prepare… and again, that was in my imagination.
There are several stories that claim to be the beginning of Eggs Benedict, but I’m only going to share one, for the sake of newspaper space.
Foodie legend has it that way back in 1894, a Wall Street broker named Lemuel Benedict was suffering from a hangover at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. He ordered, “some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce.” The Waldorf’s legendary chef, Oscar Tschirky, was so impressed that he put the dish on his breakfast and luncheon menus, after he substituted Canadian bacon for crisp bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread. A “hooker of hollandaise sauce” was simply a boat – like a gravy boat – of hollandaise sauce.
After returning to Fort Davis, I couldn’t stop thinking about the luscious hollandaise sauce. The meal was so simple and filling, and not so fancy after all. I decided to surprise my husband with Eggs Benedict, nearly three hours from our nearest La Madeleine location. According to the La Madeleine website, “Pardon, but there is no location within 100 miles.” So polite, but disappointing. Necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed Eggs Benedict.
I scoured the internet and found a recipe for blender hollandaise sauce that had all the same ingredients as the seemingly complicated sauces… only it could be made in a blender, rather than whisking away until my arm could bear no more. As luck would have it, I had everything on hand for the decadent brunch item. It was meant to be.
I quietly poached our eggs and toasted four halves of English muffins with a slice of Canadian bacon warming next to each muffin half. I melted butter, and separated egg yolk from white and added yolk to the blender with lemon juice and a small squeeze of spicy mustard because I couldn’t find my cayenne and time was of the essence. I blended it a bit, then added the melted butter and blended a little more.
The blender caught his attention and he said, “Oh no, what are you making?” with a worried tone.
I said something sassy that didn’t answer his question.
I plated the English muffin halves, topped them with warmed Canadian bacon, a poached egg, drenched them with blender hollandaise sauce, sprinkled parsley and served the plate to a pleasantly surprised man who paid the highest of compliments… a clean plate.
Eggs Benedict is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner… and not nearly as intimidating as I thought. Enjoy.
My Eggs Benedict with thick slices of Canadian bacon
Blender Hollandaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 -2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash cayenne pepper (this is where I used about a teaspoon of spicy mustard instead)
1/2 cup butter, melted
Place egg yolks, lemon juice and pepper (mustard) in blender container and blend until lemon color.
Turn blender to high and very slowly add butter, blend until thick, about 30 seconds.
The blender blades heat the sauce sufficiently for serving.
8 pieces of bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian bacon (Note: to make Eggs Florentine, simply use spinach instead of meat)
2 tablespoonschopped parsley, for garnish
2 English muffins
Cook the bacon and/or heat up your Canadian bacon. Set aside. Make Hollandaise sauce in blender. Poach the eggs. Toast English muffins. As soon as all the eggs are poaching, begin toasting your English muffins. If you can’t get all the muffins toasted by the time the eggs are ready, gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set in a bowl.
Assemble your Eggs Benedict: To assemble, butter one side of an English muffin. Top with two slices of bacon or 1 slice of Canadian bacon (or spinach). Put a poached egg on top of the bacon, then pour some hollandaise over. Sprinkle some parsley over it all and serve.