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Classic Eggs Benedict

Serves: Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 English muffins; split
  • Melted butter for coating muffins (optional)
  • 8 slices Canadian bacon
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper for dusting


Béarnaise Sauce:

  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1-½ cups melted unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Procedures:

To prepare béarnaise sauce: In a medium sauté pan, cook white wine, vinegar, shallots and peppercorns until nearly dry. Cool the reduction to room temperature, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium stainless steel bowl—you should have about a tablespoon of liquid.

In a medium saucepan, simmer two inches of water. Once the reduction has cooled, whisk in the egg yolks and place bowl over the simmering water, whisking constantly until thickened and warm. To avoid overcooking the mixture, be sure that the water is just barely simmering with no visible signs of surface action, just steam rising.

As the egg yolks warm, they increase in volume. If they become too warm and begin to coagulate around the sides and bottom, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

When the yolks have tripled in volume and the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon, remove the bowl from the simmering water. Stabilize the bowl by setting on a towel or on a towel inside of another bowl. Add the butter in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly as it is incorporated. The sauce will begin to thicken as more butter is added. If too thick, add a little water or lemon juice.

If the sauce does start to break, try adding a small amount of water and whisking until the sauce is smooth before adding more butter. If that doesn’t work, try cooking another egg yolk over simmering water until thickened then adding the broken béarnaise gradually into the new egg yolk.

Serve sauce immediately or hold sauce at a temperature of 145 degrees for up to two hours.

To prepare bacon: Place a medium nonstick skillet on the stove over a moderate heat. Add the oil and lightly cook the Canadian bacon until warm and slightly colored, about 2 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm.

To poach eggs: Fill a deep medium saucepan until 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to gently simmer and add vinegar. Place a Tovolo Perfect Poach bag into a short glass, crack one egg into the pouch, then immediately transfer the upright bag to the simmering water. Cook approximately 4 to 6 minutes, or to desired doneness, then remove pouch with tongs and place poached egg onto a warmed plate. Repeat process with other eggs. Alternatively, you can also poach two eggs at the same time (use one pouch for each egg). Keep warm until ready to serve.

Toasting muffins: Using a broiler on high, or an oven on 400 degrees; toast muffins until golden-brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a silicone pastry brush to coat muffins with butter.

To serve: Place warm, buttered muffins halves on a warmed plate. Top with slice of Canadian bacon. Place a poached egg on the top of the bacon and ladle sauce over top. Serve with a dusting of cayenne pepper.

Tested and perfected in the Sur La Table kitchen

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