Whether it cures hangovers or not, Eggs Benedict is a magnificent way to start a Sunday. I recommend waking up early to make it because it is a dish that requires time and patience. There are lots of things to do at once: toast the bread, cook the bacon, poach the eggs, and whip up the hollandaise.
In 1894, at least, the dish seems to have worked its magic on Lemuel Benedict, the guy after whom it was named. The Wall Street broker is said to have requested “some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce” at the Waldorf Hotel.
A couple of summers ago, I had a series of strange cravings for Eggs Benedict. I thought I knew the dish well, but the truth was that I did not know how to poach an egg. So I read up on the seemingly impossible task and discovered it was actually pretty easy. I also studied the techniques of whipping up a homemade hollandaise, which proved to be a herculean task. In fact, I recommend lifting weights to prepare for the exhausting, seemingly endless exercise of whisking. Making the sauce can also create a lot of self-doubt—a terrible feeling that your sauce will never fluff like you expected it to. Take heart, and when you are tempted to give up, use the occasion to remind yourself that you should have stayed those extra 15 minutes at the gym lifting those stupid dumbbells.
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 slices challah bread
4 slices canadian bacon
Bring a small pot of water to boil and add the vinegar. Crack the eggs and delicately slide them into the water. Adjust the water to medium heat and let the eggs poach for two to three minutes, or until the egg whites are firm and the yolks are still soft.
While the eggs are poaching, add butter to a small skillet and cook the bacon on medium heat for about one minute on each side. Toast the challah and place two slices of bacon on each slice of bread. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on the bacon. Add a dollop of hollandaise to each egg.
3 egg yolks
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water together in a bowl. Fill the bottom of a saucepan with water and place the bowl over the saucepan (double boiler style). Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the saucepan.
Bring the water to a simmer and keep whisking. Slowly pour in the butter and continue to whisk. Whisk until the sauce becomes fluffy. When it has thickened completely, add the salt.