Inspired by Eggs Benedict at Martha’s 22nd Street Grill in Hermosa Beach, CA and Cafe Benelux in Milwaukee, WI, this recipe includes all my favorite components of the different twists I’ve had on this classic dish. I prefer thinly shaved ham over Canadian bacon as well as the addition of sauteed spinach and a thick-cut tomato, all covered in plenty of homemade hollandaise sauce. To get this timing right so everything is warm and ready at the same time, read the directions fully before starting. Enjoy!
Oh, and I’m back. Let’s all just move on from my long absence, ok?
Eggs Benedict (serves 4, but easily halves to make 2)
for the Eggs Benedict:
4 English muffins, split
1/2 lb thin cut deli ham (prefferred: Boar’s Head black forest ham)
8 thick-cut slices of tomato
2-6oz packages of baby spinach
1 Tbs of butter
8 poached eggs (details below)
hollandaise (see below)
cayenne pepper, optional
for the hollandaise:
4 egg yolks
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), melted
Preheat oven to 225F and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring several inches of water and a healthy splash of vinegar to a hot, just-before-simmering, temperature.
In a separate sauce pan bring a few inches of water to a gentle simmer (this will be for your hollandaise).
While the two pots of water are heating, saute the spinach with 1 Tbs of butter in a large saucepan or skillet. Allow most of the moisture to evaporate. Place spinach in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
While the spinach is sauteing, toast your English muffins and place them on your lined cookie sheet. Once all the muffins have been toasted, layer ham and a tomato on each half. Place in the oven to warm, checking the temperature occasionally. You want everything to be warm but not dried out! If it’s getting dry, cover with foil to retain moisture.
Now it’s time to poach the eggs and make your hollandaise. To poach the eggs, use a spoon to swirl the water and vinegar and create a whirlpool. Crack an egg in a small bowl first and then add to the whirlpool. Using this method you can actually cook more than one at a time, but you can also do them individually if you are not comfortable with the process. Smitten Kitchen has a wonderful tutorial here if you are new to poaching. Repeat process and cook each egg for about 3-4 minutes. Gently remove with a slotted spoon. Place eggs on a plate while you cook the rest.
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky and you made need to enlist the help of a family member! While cooking the eggs you want to make the hollandaise as well (eek, I know!) To do so, whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl until doubled in volume. Place the bowl over your second pot of water and immediately start to add the butter in a steady stream, while whisking vigorously. Once all of the butter has been added, continue to whisk until the mixture is pale and thick. Remove from the simmering water. If the hollandaise is too thick for your liking, you can add hot water a Tbs at a time, whisking vigorously to incorporate. It should be thick, but still pourable.
If, in all of this commotion, your eggs got a bit cold, you can plunge them all in the warm water/vinegar pot to reheat them. Don’t cook them for more than a minute, though, as you do not want the yolk to cook.
To assemble the whole dish (yay!), take the hot ham and tomato topped muffins out the the oven, add a healthy portion of spinach, a poached egg and a nice pour of hollandaise. Finish off the dish with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and, VIOLA! you did it!