I consider myself an eggs Benedict aficionado. Any time I visit a restaurant before 2 PM my go-to order is Eggs Benedict. I have my favorite spots for this rich-breakfast option, but most places around Seattle do Benedicts pretty well.
Although I hold restaurant chefs to the highest standards for Benedict preparation, I’ve always imagined they are hard to make. There is something elusive about hollandaise sauce. There is something terrifying about poaching eggs at home. There is the added effort of cooking early in the morning, rather than the evening that seems to dampen the excitement of trying something tricky.
Fear not, dear readers! In celebration of my Mom’s birthday I made brunch, motivating me to get up early and make something delicious. What did I learn from this selfless experiment? Eggs Benedict is actually not hard at all. It’s easy! You’ll be temped to make this easy veggie Benedict every morning. Modify it, add to it, be creative – just share your discoveries in the comments below.
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 English muffins, crusty bread or bagels
Goat cheese (for spreading on the bread)
8 eggs (for poaching)
10 Tablespoon unsalted butter (the better quality your butter, the better Hollandaise you shall have)
2 egg yolks
Juice from 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Spread asparagus in single layer on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the asparagus.
Roast the asparagus for about 20 minutes, flipping occasionally. I love blistered asparagus for this dish, but just keep checking until it’s cooked to your personal perfection.
While your oven preheats and your asparagus cooks, begin to make your hollandaise sauce by cutting the butter into bite-sized pieces.
In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt the butter just until it’s almost melted. When there are still a few visible pieces of in-tact butter, take it out and stir until all the butter is dissolved.
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt. If you wanted to add some grainy mustard at this point, I wouldn’t blame you.
Once combined, drizzle the butter into the top of the blender, while the blender is still going. I know, I know, crazy!
The sauce should thicken quickly. If it’s too thick, squeeze in some more lemon juice or add a bit of water.
Keep the sauce warm but placing it in a dish inside a larger dish with some hot water.
Toast your bread/muffins/bagels and smear with goat cheese.
Just as your guests arrive you’ll want to start poaching the eggs. There are many ways to do this, this is what I do:
Bring a smallish pot of water to a low boil. Create a swirling vortex in the pot by stirring it with a wooden spoon. With a small egg cup (aka a shot glass) pour one egg into the vortex at a time. The whites of the egg will spread out a little; you can nudge it back together with the wooden spoon. Let the egg hang out in the water for 3-4 minutes, then rescue it with a slotted spoon. You can keep it warm in a bowl of warm water while you cook the rest of the eggs. Sometimes I get especially daring and cook more than one egg at once, you just have to keep track of their cook times.
Once the eggs are cooked, you can assemble your masterpiece brunch. I recommend the blistered asparagus on top of the goat cheese, topped with the poached egg and hollandaise, but a different presentation is equally lovely I’m sure.
Let us know your favorite veggie Benedict combinations in the comments below!