Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Eggs Benedict Day is Tomorrow

A breakfast or brunch specialty consisting of two toasted English muffin halves, each topped with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, a poached egg and a dollop of Hollandaise Sauce. The most popular legend of the dish's origin says that it originated at Manhattan's famous Delmonico's Restaurant when regular patrons, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, complained that there was nothing new on the lunch menu. Delmonico's maitre d' and Mrs. Benedict began discussing possibilities and eggs Benedict was the result.

Another version had a retired Wall Street stock broker named Lemuel Benedict. In 1942the year before he died, he did an interview for "Talk of the Town" column of The New Yorker. He claimed that in 1984, suffering from a terrible hangover, he wandered into the Waldorf Hotel desperate to find a cure for his suffering. He ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise. When Oscar Tschirky, the famous maître d'hôtel heard about the order, added it to the breakfast and luncheon menus but with a small change. He added a toasted English muffin instead of the toast and ham instead of the bacon.

Mrs. Isabella Beeton's Household Management had recipes in the first edition (1861) for "Dutch sauce, for benedict" (p. 405) and its variant on the following page, "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte", so it undoubtedly precedes the 20th century claimants above.


Yield: 4 servings

Sugar 1/4 C
Medium Egg yolks 3 each
Champagne 1/4 Cup
English muffins 4 each
Eggs 8 each
Smoked salmon 1 Oz
Butter as needed
Chives, chopped as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed


1. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in top of a double boiler. Stir in Champagne.

2. Place over simmering water, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick and foamy. Chill until firm.

3. Toast English muffin. Top with 2 eggs that have been poached in little salted water with a little vinegar in it, until the whites are set and the yolk is still runny.

4. Heat smoked salmon slices in butter until warm. Place on the English muffin top with poached egg, then spoon sabayon over eggs and sprinkle with chopped chives and black pepper.

No comments: