Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eggs Benedict エッグスベネデクト

This is certainly not an Izakaya food but I decided to post it anyway. Sometimes eating breakfast for dinner is a wonderful thing and this dish only goes with good sparkling wines (Champagne, Cava or Prosecco). So it could be possible to have this for a late night snack or something for celebration (we do not think we can eat this late at night). Obviously, this is not "low" fat or low calory and we eat this only on very special occasions. We need four components to make this dish; 1. bread, 2. Canadian bacon, 3. poached egg, and 4. Hollandaise sauce.

1. Bread: The bread is transitionally an English muffin which I used to make but, recently my wife started making "English muffin loaf bread" which has a same texture and taste of English muffin and it is bit easier to make (for one thing, you need not to struggle to put the sticky dough into individual rings, but most importantly, I do not have to make it!). My wife recipe may be different but here is one I found on line.

2. Bacon: This time, I did not have Canadian bacon so I used chicken breast and half  a strip of bacon to add bacon flavor. I cut half a strip of bacon into small pieces and made them crispy by rendering the bacon fat in a small frying pan. I removed the bacon bits from the pan and added slices of pre-cooked chicken (one I made few days ago) breast and saute for 30 seconds on each side to add bacon flavor and to warm.

3. Poached eggs: We poach eggs very simply using a small (8 inch) non-stick frying pan. Use one with a high side (not for a French omelet kind) so that enough water can be added allowing the egg yolk to be totally submerged. Add 1/2 tsp of salt (I do not add vinegar since we do not need it and do not like the vinegar flavor in our eggs). When it comes to simmer, break eggs in small cups and gently slide them in the hot water. The egg white around the yolk will stay together without any special techniques. After the surface of the yolk is just set but the yolk is still runny (4-5 minutes), using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs on a paper towel lined plate (the eggs may stick to the bottom of the pan but since it has a non-stick surface, they will come off.  If not, you could use a silicon spatula to persuade, but be careful not to break the yolk on the bottom).

4. Hollandaise sauce (for two servings of one egg each): Once you get hang of it, this is not as difficult as you may think. If you are an expert chef you could use a small sauce pan directly on fire but I use a double boiler so that I do not make scrambled eggs instead. Add lemon juice from half a lemon (1-2 tbs) in the double boiler on simmer. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and one egg yolk, whisk until frothy. Drizzle in 1-2 tbs of melted butter and keep whisking until thick and saucy consistency is reached (2-3 minutes). I usually add a small amount of water to loosen up the sauce to a nice flowing consistency.

5. Assembly:  Toast and butter a slice of  English muffin loaf (if you are so inclined you could use a ring mold to cut a circle or use an English muffin) on the bottom, place a slice of the chicken breast with bacon bits, then, a poached egg, and cover them with Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle paprika and chopped chives (to make it Chrismasy since this was Christmas morning). By the way, we did not have any drink with this (we had cappuccinos instead) since it was breakfast but we could have Champagne or Mimosa.

The French know how to make it decadent and also artery clogging but this is a wonderful combination of tastes and textures.

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