- white wine vinegar
- egg yolks
- fresh lemon juice
- smoked Canadian bacon, sliced
- large eggs
- unsalted butter, clarified
- English muffins, split, toasted
- shredded lemon peel (optional)
The perfect classic Eggs Benedict requires the freshest eggs and the best butter, according to Philip Jones, president of Jones Dairy Farm, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
It’s a rich dish that can be prepared in advance, Jones says. Cook the eggs until they’re just done and immerse them in a bath of half water, half ice. Before serving, re-immerse them again into simmering water for 1½ to 2 minutes.
“You look like a hero because you’ve made this magnificent breakfast or brunch and people are in awe of how you’ve done it. It’s a great restaurant trick,” he says.
- Clarify the butter: Melt it and separate it, but let it cook slowly until it has a white golden color. By this point the milk solids will cling to the bottom of the pan, and you’ll have a very clear clarified butter that has an additional flavor development because it’s been cooked and all the moisture has evaporated from the butter itself. A pound of butter takes about 30 minutes to clarify on a low to medium heat.
- Make the hollandaise: Whisk egg yolks with lemon juice and a tablespoon of water (for three egg yolks). Whisk until very light and stiff over heat—3 to 4 minutes. Add the warm clarified butter, stirring constantly and whisk until sauce has thickened and heat of butter cooks the egg yolks.
- Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Pan fry Canadian bacon in a skillet or on a griddle until golden brown; 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Poach eggs: Slowly break them into a small dish (this helps them keep their shape) then put them into simmering water with vinegar, which also helps the eggs’ shape (½ cup of vinegar to 1 quart of water). Poach the eggs until they’re done—4 to 5 minutes (3 to 4 minutes if shocking and reheating) or to touch—there should be a moderate degree of resistance when checking the egg. If the yolk breaks, it obviously wasn’t cooked long enough.
- Lightly butter the toast and top with Canadian bacon. Place one egg on each muffin half using a slotted spook, then pour hollandaise sauce over eggs. Top with lemon peel if desired.