Saturday mornings my husband makes an elaborate breakfast. This is a special time in our house where we all lounge in our jammies and enjoy being together. When we have no reason to be up early and out the door, we Grollers like to veg out a bit 🙂
A few Saturdays ago, we made Eggs Benedict for breakfast. I was surprised by how easy it was to make this dish, and how yummy it tasted. Since we all love breakfast for dinner on occasion, I thought why not make this one week night. It's quick (takes less than 28 minutes) and my kids would be thrilled to have bacon at dinnertime.
The trickiest part of this eggs benedict recipe is preparing the hollandaise sauce. The steps themselves are simple, but I will admit I was a little nervous to serve my family a sauce that contains raw egg yolk. However, after some research, I realized there are some simple ways to keep your family safe when preparing this sauce.
NOTES ON USING RAW EGG YOLKS:
- Buy pasteurized eggs. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, eggs are pasteurized by being heated quickly and kept at a minimum required temperature for a specified time. This process doesn't "cook" the eggs or change their form. It simply destroys any food-born illness or dangerous bacteria, like Salmonella, to make the raw eggs safe to consume.
- "Pasteurize" the eggs at home. While it's always safer to buy pasteurized eggs from the store, there are some ways at home to bring the egg yolks' temperatures up to a safe level. We had great success using some tips from The Spruce Eats on How to Pasteurize Eggs in the Microwave. The Egg Safety Center also provides some great guidelines on the proper temperature to cook eggs. Slowly heating the egg yolks with their sauce ingredients over the stove is also a great way to bring up the sauce's temperature without causing the eggs to curdle.
- Use a Vitamix or high-speed blender to heat egg yolks to proper temperature. I've been told that the friction of a blender paired with the hot steaming butter can raise the egg yolks' temperature to a safe level. And this is the strategy we used for our hollandaise sauce. Of course, it can be hard to know the exact temperature the sauce has been raised, so I still believe that using pre-pasteurized egg yolks is the safest bet.
- Create a "mock" hollandaise sauce. While we haven't tried this yet, I've heard that mayonnaise and/or Dijon mustard can be used in place of egg yolks as a tasty alternative to traditional hollandaise sauce. Others have also made a cheese sauce instead of hollandaise sauce for their Eggs Benedict.
By the way, this was the first time I had ever cooked bacon in the oven. And I was pleasantly surprised by how well the bacon turned out. It still had the crispiness we like and we got to avoid the splattering and greasy mess that we often see when cooking bacon on the stove.
EGG POACHING TIPS:
And finally, a few tips on poaching eggs. It's really important that you don't bring the water to a full boil. It should just be simmering slightly. Otherwise, the eggs will cook to a solid form very quickly. Also, be sure you don't keep the eggs in the water for too long so that they overcook. The Egg Safety Center recommends cooking the eggs until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken, but are not hard. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
Here's a pro tip about draining poached eggs. Take a plate and wrap it tightly, several times over, with saran wrap, so that it creates a tight seal. Then use a knife or fork to punch a bunch of small holes through the top. When eggs are cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to the plate. The excess water on the egg will sink down under the saran wrap through the holes, so that the egg will be less soggy when you're ready to serve it.
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Keep things separate. For whatever reason, young kids seem to find less mixed food more palatable. Maybe they feel better when the ingredients are more identifiable to them. Who knows?! For your kids, you can plate this benedict by separating out the poached egg, bacon and buttered english muffin. Sauce, of course, on the side 😂
🍅Cook eggs longer. While we did suggest poaching your eggs for 5 mins (or even less, depending on the heat of the water), you can certainly cook them longer. If your kids really like hard boiled eggs, leave the eggs in for a few mins longer. The yolks will harden more.
🍅Make a face! Make a face with the hollandaise sauce on your kid's plate. Make 2 dollops for eyes and use a knife to draw a mouth underneath.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Make it Gluten Free! The only ingredient in this meal that contains gluten is the english muffin. So, either eliminate the bread altogether (and serve the benedict atop the greens) or swap it out with your favorite gluten free muffin.
🍅Make it Dairy Free! Replace the butter in the eggs benedict recipe with a non-dairy alternative. I've always been a big fan of Earth Balance. Bonus: it's also vegan.
🍅Make it Vegetarian! Take out the bacon, obviously 😆You can swap it out with a great meat substitute. I really like the bacon seitan from Upton's Naturals and the veggie bacon from Morning Star, but there are lots of other brands too. Or you can fry up some mushrooms, add some cheese, add spinach and make it a florentine benedict, etc. There are lots of options.
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Bacon and Eggs Benedict with Mixed Greens & Asparagus
- 4-8 slices bacon
- 4 cups water
- 4 T white vinegar
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter (+ extra for buttering english muffins)
- 4 egg yolks (to be safe, we recommend using pasteurized eggs)
- 1 1/2 T lemon juice
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 bunch asparagus (cleaned and trimmed)
- 4 English muffins
- 1 T fresh chives (chopped)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place bacon on a rimmed baking sheet. Once oven is heated, cook for 8-10 mins, depending on the thickness of the cut.
- Meanwhile, pour water and vinegar into a medium pot and heat until ALMOST boiling. Crack an egg into a separate bowl and as low and close to the water as possible, gently drop egg into the water. You may want to turn temp down to medium so water doesn't start to boil. Cook egg for 3-5 mins. Once cooked, remove egg with a slotted spoon and place on saran-wrapped plate (see Mimi's Tip). You can poach several eggs at a time this way.
- While eggs are cooking, start the Hollandaise. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in small pan until it begins to slightly bubble. Butter must be hot! In a Vitamix or blender, mix together egg yolks, lemon juice and 1/4 t of the salt on medium. Slowly and by the spoonful, add hot butter to the mix. Blend together until sauce is slightly thickened. Set aside.
- Use the water from the eggs to blanch the asparagus. Add the remaining 1/4 t of the salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Place asparagus in water and cook for 2 mins. When done, immediately run very cold water over the asparagus. Set aside.
- Cut English muffins in half. Butter and toast English muffins for a few mins in toaster/oven/toaster oven.
- Layer each English muffin half with 2 pieces of bacon, poached egg, 2+ spoonfulls of hollandaise sauce and a pinch of chives.
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