The standard recipe calls for English muffins topped with Canadian bacon or sliced ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce, which is a rich sauce made from eggs, butter, and lemon juice. Legend has it that it originated in Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City. Apparently Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict complained that there was nothing new on the lunch menu, so the maitre d' and Mrs. Benedict collaborated and came up with what is now known as Eggs Benedict.
How to Make Eggs Benedict
Here is what you will need for 4 servings of the classic version:
4 poached eggs
1 recipe Hollandaise Sauce or Mock Hollandaise Sauce (see below)
2 English muffins, split (half of a muffin per serving)
4 slices Canadian-style bacon
1. Prepare Poached Eggs
Poach the eggs in a pan of water. Click here for step-by-step instructions on cooking poached eggs. Or use an electric egg poacher, following manufacturer's instructions.
Step 2. Make the Hollandaise Sauce
The classic sauce for Eggs Benedict is Hollandaise Sauce. You will need a double boiler to keep the eggs from curdling during preparation. For a foolproof sauce that is a bit simpler but still tasty, try Mock Hollandaise Sauce.
3. Broil the Muffins & Canadian Bacon
- Preheat the broiler.
- Place muffin halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat about 2 minutes or until toasted. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian-style bacon; broil about 1 minute more or until meat is heated through.
4. Assemble the Eggs Benedict.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the eggs and toast the English muffins as above. Place muffin halves in a greased 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian-style bacon and 1 cooked egg. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, prepare Hollandaise Sauce; spoon hot sauce over eggs. Bake, covered, in a 350 degrees F oven about 30 minutes or until heated through.
Salmon Benedict Variation: Prepare as above, except spread 1 tablespoon softened tub-style cream cheese with herbs on each toasted English muffin half and substitute 4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon (lox-style) for the Canadian-style bacon. If desired, stir 1 tablespoon drained capers and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed into the Hollandaise Sauce. Do not use the paprika.
Mushrooms Benedict Variation: This is a meatless option. Select 4 portobello mushrooms with 3-1/2- to 4-inch caps and remove stems. Prepare Eggs Benedict as above, except before cooking eggs, cook the mushroom caps in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and pat mushrooms with a paper towel to soak up excess liquid. Slice mushrooms. Sprinkle lightly with salt and ground black pepper; cover with foil to keep warm. Continue as directed, using the mushroom slices instead of the Canadian-style bacon. Sprinkle each with finely chopped seeded tomato instead of the paprika.
How to Poach an Egg
-Don??t let the rumors fool you. Poaching an egg is not a difficult task. Here??s how to poach an egg for Eggs Benedict or any other recipe. Begin by adding 4 cups water and 1 table cider vinegar to a large deep skillet. The vinegar helps to keep egg whites from spreading, bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to quite simmer. Bubble should be small and just breaking the surface. While you??re waiting for the water to reach the right temperature, break a fresh egg into a custard cup. Fresh eggs are the key to poach egg success. When the water is ready, lower the custard cup as close to the water as possible and slip the egg in. Don??t crack the egg directly into the water. That will leave you with egg on your face when the egg breaks apart in the skillet. Let egg simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Do not swirl that water. Eggs are done when whites are set and the yolks begin to thicken, but are not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the skillet allowing the eggs a quick drip dry. Add your perfectly poached egg to a recipe like Eggs Benedict or season with salt and paper and eaten as is. Now, that wasn??t so hard, was it?