December 14, 2010

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Eggs Benedict

I was very, very, very happy when I found out about this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge. This time around, Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose an Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num. I chose to make Eggs Benedict because I’m quite convinced that it is the epitome of deliciousness.

This was only the second time in my life that I’ve made Eggs Benedict, which is a bit of a tragedy if you ask me. The first time was in high school NFS (a.k.a. Nutrition and Food Science) class. This heavenly concoction of melting egg, hearty ham, and buttery hollandaise sauce served as a gleaming beacon of hope in the midst of spice cakes made with tomato soup and poor food sanitation practices. It allowed me to experience joy completely unrelated to that which I felt from stealing illicit spices from the teacher’s cart and rebelliously going off-recipe. The instant that first bite hit my lips, I was transported into a semi-conscious state much like that experienced by Remy in Ratatouille that carried me away from the windowless angst of high school.

In short, I was hooked. How could a person not be? Eggs Benedict combines one of the greatest things on earth, namely, gooey, semi-cooked egg yolks, and hollandaise sauce, which is basically just more eggs and oodles of butter! There’s pretty much nothing on earth that wouldn’t taste good when it’s filled with twelve tablespoons of butter.

Beyond the poached egg on top and the traditional hollandaise sauce, I accompanied my version of Eggs Benedict with a thick slice of smoked ham and a round of wheaty, nutty bread that I picked up at my local wheaty, nutty bread shop. It was speckled with pecans, walnuts, and flax seed that gave it a slight sweetness that really played well off the savory ham and egg.

The customization possibilities are endless with this dish. If you’re not a ham person, I bet it’s incredible with sausage. If you’re not a wheaty, nutty bread person, you can go the traditional route with half an English muffin or just a slice of your favorite bread. If you’re not a semi-cooked, eggy, hollandaise sauce kind of person, you can use a pasteurized egg product and it should work just fine (that’s what I use in Caesar salad dressing, actually.) The point is, you should definitely try Eggs Benedict. It’s awesome.

All the info can be found at the Daring Kitchen.

19 comments:

  1. I just saw the thickness of that ham and let out a weird, strangled sound. All ham should be that thick. Nice poaching skills too! That is a good-looking poached egg.

    "a gleaming beacon of hope in the midst of spice cakes made with tomato soup and poor food sanitation practices."

    That made me laugh. I feel ya. My home ec classes were grim.

    Remy! I must watch Ratatouille again.

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  2. Koci! This looks amazing!!!!! Seriously, just looking at the pics is making me hungry!

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  3. Beeeee-oooootiful!

    Eggs Bene is something I order every time I get a chance, but I, too, never make it at home. Time for a change, I say!

    Donna

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  4. Mmmm eggs benedict.
    Probably the best breakfast ever fathomed by man.
    I agree, something just happens when you take the first bite. It's soooo good.

    And I love how you used a round of bread instead of the traditional english muffin, it looks great!

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  5. Amazing job! Love that you sliced the ham really thick! And your egg is so perfectly poached! Yummy!

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  6. Gorgeous eggs - I bet the wheaty nutty bread really was delicious in it too! I can't get enough of wheaty nutty bread and ham. not necessarily in that order, but hey..

    Great job on the challenge!!

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  7. Oo lala! Congrats on a great challenge! Your eggs are perfect :]


    <3Marea

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  8. Beautiful! That egg yolk makes me drool. I'm also a big fan of Remy and Ratatouille. Eating Eggs Benedict elicits a similar response!

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  9. You made eggs benny in home ec? That makes up for a lot. The only thing I remember making is pancakes with fake maple syrup, and I live in the middle of maple syrup land! Your eggs look scrumptious, and the thick ham and seedy bread are perfect. You'd think I'd be over poached eggs by now, but I just want more!
    :)

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  10. Poaching eggs is truly a daring feat. It was one of the only specific kitchen techniques my grandmother taught me. She had serious poaching skills that I will never have.
    Looks like you mastered eggs benedict! I like your choice of bread too.

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  11. @Suzler: hahaha Agreed. Ham at optimum thickness is a must!

    Isn't Ratatouille kinda the greatest movie ever?

    @Becky: hehe Thanks! :D

    @FabFrugalFood: I definitely recommend giving it a try. Thanks!

    @somethingsavory: That round of bread was actually the product of me cutting the little loaf in the wrong direction, so a happy mishap! :D

    @Renata: Thank you!

    @Monkeyshines in the Kitchen: Me neither! :D

    @Marea: Thanks! :)

    @Judy: Oh yes! I love those runny yolks!

    @Mary: Fake maple syrup? Oh no. Although I'm glad to hear that others have similar home ec horror stories. :D

    @Rachel: Oooh, I'd love to learn from a poaching expert. How cool!

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  12. Somehow I avoided the entire home-ec culinary experience, but if you got to make eggs benedict then it must've been great no matter what else you made then :) I love your rendition with that thick ham and your bread looks gorgeous.

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  13. Wow - I love the look of that thick ham and I like the nutty bread too - great version of a brilliant dish!

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  14. that indeed is a perfectly poached egg!

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  15. @Jenn: I must admit, it was a nice perk! Thanks!

    @Please Do Not Feed the Animals: Thank you!!

    @Cardamom Hills: Thanks! :D

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  16. oh girl, i love me some eggs benedict! There is one they make in Taos at this hip little dive called "the dragonfly cafe" where they plop those poached lil beauties atop of fresh cooked drop style biscuits, cooked spinach, roma tomatoes, "that sauce" and all the home fried potatoes you could possibly fathom, sigh....I miss that dish, gonna have to make it now...soon....and all 'cause you inspired me with your fabulousness...as usual.

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  17. If only we had a wheaty, nutty bread shop near by... Our muffins worked fine, though.

    Well done on a great result!
    Stay JOLLY!
    D&S

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  18. @mangiabella: Oh. my. gosh. That sounds sooo yummy!! :D

    @David and Stacey: Regular muffins are plenty delicious as well! I'm pretty much a fan of any and all carbs. :D

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  19. Well done, or not in regards to the egg. The benedict is a classic. Your rendition is great. Thanks.

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