Is there anything more perfect than a classic eggs benedict on a weekend? I don't know if there actually is.
It is my husband's absolute drop-dead favorite thing I make and he asks for eggs benedict LITERALLY every weekend.
And I am sharing my classic eggs benedict not for him, but for me and all you mothers out there for Mother's Day. You deserve this. And if you don't have someone willing to make it for you, don't worry, this recipe is easy AF so you can make this for yourself.
There are 364 days of my year that belong to our kids and husbands. Mother's Day is the mother of all days just for us. And I am happy to take the day for what it is...my five kids making me cards and Jim looking at me like I just might be the greatest woman he knows...and making m own favorite brunch meal.
What is eggs benedict?
Poached eggs, canadian bacon (or ham, which is what I use), english muffin and a glorious hollandaise sauce. Simple as that, and I promise, no matter what you've heard about hollandaise sauce....
IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO MAKE
What is hollandaise sauce? I've heard it is super hard to make.
Yeah, I have heard this too. And I spent years avoiding ever making this. But so long as you have a good whisk and strong arm muscles you can get make this.
It is an emulsion of egg yolks, clarified butter and lemon juice. I really like the acidity lemon juice bring to the entire dish, so my recipe calls for a good amount. It does require some technique (after all it is a French sauce, and while they do everything delicious, they don't necessarily do it easy). A double boiler and a shit ton of serious whisking, but still not that hard. Honestly all you have to do is really pay attention to it.
What you need to make eggs benedict.
- Eggs - traditional eggs benedict is served with poached eggs. And if you have had trouble poaching eggs in the past watch Gordon Ramsey's quick video - it could not be easier.
- Canadian bacon - this is also traditional, but I will tell you, I most often use leftover ham because I have it on hand.
- English muffin - again traditional, but also adaptable. I have used crab cakes instead, corn fritters that I had leftover...hell I even made a stuffing patty with leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving this year, so if you wanna get creative go for it!
- Hollandaise sauce - we already talked about it, but here is what you will need to make it:
- egg yolks
- clarified butter (which is also called ghee which is also sold at every grocery store i have ever been in lately)
- lemon juice
- cayenne pepper
- cracked black pepper to finish
Last pro tips...
I have a few.
- Timing. Hands down. Making homemade eggs benedict requires thinking through your timing before you start. I recommend getting everything out and ready to go before you start. Get the english muffins ready to toast. crack your eggs for poaching into a bowl. Whisk your yolks for the hollandaise while you are heating up the butter.
- Streamline. Making homemade eggs benedict does take a lot of dishes. But I have found ways to streamline this...use the poaching pot as your double boiler. This will help with the dishes and it will also help to keep your mind on the eggs poaching...they are right in front of you as you on/off the hollandaise sauce from the water. If you use a separate double boiler it is easy to focus on the sauce and lose sight of the eggs poaching. You'll end up with a hard poached (more like hard-boiled) egg.
- Use a cold lemon for the juice for the hollandaise. This will help to make sure you haven't overheated your butter, causing it to seize when you add to the yolks.
And as I am looking at all of this I realize you might be thinking, "she's out of her f'ing mind, this is way too much work."
I swear to god I thought so too until I did it, and I didn't even have my pro tips when I started making this! Even if you don't read anything else here - read the pro tips, they help make this successful. And if you don't feel like doing all of this work for Mother's Day - I get it, I think even husbands can follow these instructions. xoxo
For the eggs benedict
- 4 eggs for poaching at room temperature if you can
- Four slices of canadian bacon or ham
- 2 English muffins toasted and buttered
For the hollandaise sauce
- 4 tablespoons of clarified butter aka ghee
- 3 tablespoons of cold lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks
- Pinch or two of cayenne pepper
- Pepper to finish
- Prep everything...get your eggs cracked into a bowl and ready for poaching, get your poaching water going on the stove, put your egg yolks into a metal bowl, put your butter in another metal or glass bowl, lemon juice squeezed and measured in a bowl, muffins cut and ready to be toasted and ham in the frying pan to heat up. This step is most important.
For the hollandaise sauce
- Put egg yolks in a medium sized bowl.
- Melt the butter over poaching water for about a minute. For this entire minute VIGOROUSLY beat your egg yolks with a wire whisk (the whole minute), until they are lighter and have increased in size.
- Add the lemon juice to the hot butter and whisk, this will help to cool the butter a bit before you put in your egg yolks, you don’t want them to scramble, that would be gross.
- Gently pour the butter mixture into the egg yolks in a steady stream, VIGOROUSLY whisking constantly and I mean constantly, the entire time you are pouring or you will end up with bits of scrambled eggs in your sauce.
- Keep whisking and place the bowl over the warm water. Do this on/off the poaching water for about about 10 minutes, until it is fully emulsified and nice and thick and velvety. You don't have to whisk quite as vigorously the entire 10 minutes, you can ease up a bit, just make sure to not let it go too long or it will separate. Add your cayenne pepper and season with salt at the very end. Add small amounts of salt and taste as you go, you can over salt this easily and it is so delicate you don’t want to ruin it.
- While the sauce is going turn on the ham over a low flame in a frying pan and pop down your english muffins. Begin poaching the eggs - they usually take about 3 minutes. Note they should begin to float when they are almost ready. Since you are taking the sauce bowl on off the top of the poaching water, you can check the eggs. As soon as they start floating, take a slotted spoon and gently lift, if the white is set and not clear (this is gonna sound gross, but what i mean is when it doesn't look bougar-y, sorry, there is really nothing grosser than undercooked egg whites), then they are done.
- Plate the english muffin, top with ham or canadian bacon, top with egg, top with hollandaise sauce and top that with cracked black pepper. And then...ENJOY!
Looking for other great Mother's Day brunch ideas? Here you go!