How did everyone’s Christmas go? We had a lovely day at my sister-in-law’s house with the family, then a little party in the evening at Gareth’s best friend’s place. We even managed to squeeze a nap between the two events to recharge our batteries. I can safely say I haven’t eaten so much cheese in such a short period of time ever. I’ve been very lucky and thoroughly spoiled by friends and family in the presents department this year as well. In fact, we got so carried away with opening our presents after breakfast that we were late in leaving for lunch.
An eggs Benedict breakfast on Christmas day was what Gareth requested and it was the start of our food festivities that day. Actually, the food fest started the weekend before Christmas when we had an Asian-themed meal with friends, and on Christmas Eve night we had a bit of a ploughman’s dinner with homemade ham, cheeses (see), crackers, and a prawn appetisers platter. Whew. I used the same ham for breakfast, and we’ve been having plenty of ham sandwiches with the leftovers since.
Of course, a dish involving poached eggs and a hollandaise sauce would make the most sense when I haven’t tried to make either before. I looked up several recipes and videos online and decided to keep it as simple as possible. The BBC Good Food website was as reliable as ever and I settled on using this recipe for the sauce and this video for the eggs. The sauce recipe actually makes enough for three people, not two.
The most important thing about poaching eggs is to use the freshest eggs possible. The whites are thicker and less runny and the egg will hold its shape better in the water. I actually forgot to add a splash of vinegar into the water – this is to ensure the white coagulates around the yolk better and prevents it from spreading out. Sort of like double insurance, together with swirling the water first. So some of my egg whites did spread out a little but it really wasn’t disastrous. Adding the vinegar is probably more essential if your eggs are less fresh.
I absolutely loved how it turned out in the end, and it may well be the start of a new tradition for us. Gareth’s verdict? Delicious, but no avocados next time!
Eggs Benedict with Avocado
2 English muffins, halved
Slices of ham
One avocado, halved and sliced
4 large fresh eggs
125g salted butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
Lemon juice (optional)
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
- Make the sauce. Melt the butter in 30 second bursts in a microwave.
- Put the egg yolks, vinegar, a splash of cold water and a small pinch of salt in a metal or glass bowl, of a size that can fit over a small pan. Hand whisk to mix it up for a few minutes.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and add the melted butter a few drops at a time, continuing to whisk. Like making mayonnaise, add the butter a few drops at time initially but once the sauce becomes thicker you can be more generous with adding the butter. Add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick.
- Taste and add more salt, lemon juice and cayenne pepper if wishing.
- Keep warm in a low temperature oven.
- Make the poached eggs. Bring a pan of water to a fast simmer, with at least 5 cm depth of water in it. Add a splash of vinegar. Make sure the water is not at a rolling boil as the large bubbles will break up the eggs.
- Crack the eggs separately into little bowls or ramekins. This makes dropping them into the water easier and gentler.
- With a ladle, stir the water so it forms a little whirlpool in the middle.
- Gently pour an egg into the middle of the whirlpool and cook for 2 minutes.
- Transfer out with a slotted ladle onto a plate lined with kitchen towels.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs.
- To assemble, toast the sliced muffins. Layer the avocado, ham and poached egg on top of each half and spoon over the hollandaise sauce.