Recipe: lox eggs benedict
What a roller coaster season it has been for fall colors. Despite the late change and early snow putting a damper on the leaves this season, we were headed for a bounce back that still held potential. I’m what you might call an optimistic realist. I knew the signs were pointing to a less than stellar fall shoot, but I hoped a few choice locations would pull through. The looked like they were on their way to something good.
the sun sets on the largest aspen stand in the world
she left a little color on her way to bed
apens and conifers
recon on the anthracite range
And then came the snow. Now, I LIKE the snow. I like skiing it and I like seeing it. And it adds this magical element to the fall colors. It’s one of the components of a slam dunk during the fall shoot – if you can just get some snow with the colors and yadda yadda yadda. If the storm is cold enough though, it spells the end. When our mercury dropped to 13°F overnight, I knew the next morning was the last chance to catch what magic was left around Crested Butte. The following day, all of those beautiful fluffy gold stands fringed with reds and oranges had turned to rust – the color of death – after the hard freeze. But I managed to get out before it all went to hell in a hand basket.
whetstone mountain delivered nicely
sunlight emerging from storm clouds
As with Nature, as with the kitchen, things don’t always turn out as planned. I’ve adopted the attitude that we just have to make the most of what we get and run with it. That said, it’s nice that I have a little (just a little) more control over what works out in my kitchen. When I cured salmon lox in September, I tried to expand beyond good old bagels and lox. I tried to go for something slightly more sophisticated. Eggs benedict with lox instead of Canadian bacon came to mind. Actually, Benedict Cumberbatch came to mind first and then eggs benedict (cumberbatch) and then lox eggs benedict (cumberbatch). I’m rather fond of Mr. Cumberbatch and not particularly fond of Canadian bacon at all (it’s wishy washy). So let’s get the ball rolling with the Hollandaise sauce first.
some white wine vinegar, lemon (juice), eggs, and butter
combine the lemon juice and vinegar
whisk in the egg yolks
whisk until it is frothy
I’ve never made Hollandaise sauce before, so I found the easiest recipe that doesn’t require a blender (because I want to see what’s happening as the sauce comes together). I know why I’ve never made Hollandaise sauce before – I don’t think I’m all that crazy for it. Its cousin, Bernaise sauce, is far far more appealing to me. Still, it’s fine as a condiment. Onward.
whisk over a simmering water bath until thickened
whisk in the butter piece by piece
whisk until thick and glossy
Temperature is important – if the sauce gets too cold, it will harden and become unsauce-like (there is a lot of butter in there). If the sauce gets too warm, it will break (i.e. you’ll notice liquid separating from the emulsion). I know this because mine got cold, then when I warmed it up, it broke. If your sauce breaks, Fine Cooking offers a nice method for rescuing your Hollandaise sauce. It rescued mine. Now let’s assemble everything.
hollandaise sauce, lox, eggs, brioche
Traditionally, one is supposed to use an English muffin, but the store-bought versions leave me uninspired. Brioche appealed to me (always does) because it has such a buttery flavor and luxurious texture. And of course, you have to include poached eggs. Man, I just love runny yolks. I’ve always fried eggs when I wanted runny yolks, but I do love a poached egg. I had never poached an egg before, so it was high time I learned to do it. You know what? It’s ridiculously easy to do. Poached eggs forever!!
you want vinegar, eggs, and water (not shown)
pour a few tablespoons into your pot of boiling water
reduce the heat to barely a simmer and give the water a stir to form a vortex in the center
It’s best if you don’t crack the egg directly into the water, but gently drop it in from a little bowl. Your tiny whirlpool will keep the white from swirling out of control, maintaining a nice neat little package around the yolk. If you’re doing more than one poached egg, slide them in one-by-one lest you create some giant leviathan of poached eggs. Four minutes should be enough to yield a nice runny yolk.
gently lower the egg into the bath
fish it out with a slotted spoon
The hardest part about the whole recipe is not making any one thing, but the timing of the assembly because of the nature of the eggs and the Hollandaise sauce. Toast the brioche and butter it, if you like. I prefer to leave out the butter since it’s already pretty rich. Layer a few slices of the salmon lox (or smoked salmon, whatever floats your boat), the set the poached egg on top. The eggs have a decent heat capacity such that they’ll still be warm for a few minutes after you’ve cooked them. Deb has a great tip for reheating the eggs – slip them into hot, but not boiling, water for a minute. Top the ensemble with some Hollandaise sauce and you’re ready to roll. Actually, I quite like a dash (or seven) of Tabasco on top too. It just makes the world a better place.
layer salmon on the toasted brioche
set the poached egg on the bed of salmon
finish it with some hollandaise sauce
So how is it? Incredible. It’s a combination of many of my favorite things (runny yolk, salmon, brioche). And while I may have maligned the Hollandaise sauce, it really works beautifully with this dish – especially if you add that Tabasco (or any hot sauce) on top. Don’t fret if you don’t have any homemade lox on hand, store-bought will stand in just fine and your wow factor will still be through the roof. Also? This is superb with a mimosa.
it’s okay to spoil yourself
1 slice of brioche roll or loaf per serving, toasted
butter for brioche toast (optional)
2-3 slices lox or smoked salmon per serving
1 poached egg per serving
2-3 tbsps Hollandaise sauce per serving
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
2 tsps lemon juice
2 tsps white wine vinegar
3 egg yolks
4 oz. butter, diced
Make the Hollandaise sauce: Place the lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a medium bowl. Add the egg yolks to the lemon and vinegar and whisk until frothy. Set the bowl over a simmering water bath (and be sure not to let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until the mixture is thickened. Gradually add the butter one or two pieces at a time, whisking constantly until the sauce is thick. Season with salt to taste. Keep warm. If your sauce breaks, you can find a good tip on how to recover it at Fine Cooking. Makes about a cup.
Poach the egg(s): Crack the egg open into a small bowl, making sure not to break the yolk. Bring a quart of water in a medium pot to a boil. Add the vinegar and lower the heat until the water is just barely simmering. Stir the water with a spoon in a circular motion to create a vortex in the center. Slide the egg into the center (one-by-one if making more than one). Let the egg cook for 4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon.
Assemble the lox eggs benedict: Butter the toast, if desired. Set the brioche toast down on a plate. Layer the lox or smoked salmon onto the brioche. Set a poached egg on top of the salmon. Spoon the Hollandaise sauce over the egg. Serve hot with Tabasco sauce on the side. Makes 1 (or more, depending on how many you want to make).
more goodness from the use real butter archives
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