According to gastronomic lore, Eggs Benedict began at Delmonico's, a Manhattan restaurant, where frequent patrons the Benedicts complained that the brunch menu options were boring — and Eggs Benedict was born. A bed of toasted English muffin halves topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce is the classic recipe. The dish evolved to include variations for each ingredient. Crab replaces bacon; toast substitutes for muffins; adding asparagus and creamed spinach increase its nutritional value. Sauces variations are also allowed. As many sauciers say, a good sauce is like a good marriage; as long as the sauce fulfills its role as a harmonizer of a dish rather than a soloist, many cream-based varieties are welcome substitutions for Hollandaise.
Add water to a saucepan. Simmer on medium heat and place a large bowl inside the pan. Whisk together the butter and egg yolks until blended.
Whisking constantly, add boiling water to the egg-and-butter mixture until the sauce thickens, approximately eight minutes.
Remove the sauce from heat and add the lemon juice, paprika and salt to taste.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, whisking constantly.
Whisk together the roux and the milk until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat until it simmers.
Season the sauce with salt and nutmeg. Continue to simmer the sauce for approximately three minutes.
Add the cheese slowly, whisking constantly, until smooth and blended. Remove it from heat.
Lambic Cream Sauce
Allow the beer to stand opened at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the flour, whisking constantly for three minutes.
Add the beer, whisking intermittently until the sauce simmers.
Slowly add the cheese and whisk the sauce until blended. Remove the saucepan from heat. Mix in the mustard, salt and cream until smooth.
Place the toasted English muffins on plates.
Place the fried Canadian bacon on top of the English muffins.
Place the poached eggs on top of the Canadian bacon.
Pour the sauce over the poached eggs and serve with a side of asparagus and the sparkling wine of your choice.
- "The New Food Lover's Companion"; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst; 2007
- "Gourmet" magazine; First Lessons in Sauce-Making; Louis Diat; January 1958
Based in Richmond, Va., Tara Carson has written articles for editorial and corporate online and print publications for more than 10 years. She has experience as an adjunct professor of nutrition at Northwest Christian University and holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and nutrition from Virginia Commonwealth University.