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Sometimes, not too often, you have one of those weekend mornings when you might have a little extra time to cook yourself a real treat for a late breakfast or lunchtime snack. The next time this rare event occurs I would strongly recommend that you give serious consideration to Eggs Benedict, I promise you won't regret it. In addition to being simply delicious they also have the almost magical power of helping to banish that Saturday night hangover. Hungover or not, bleary eyed or wide awake, I guarantee you will enjoy this delicious recipe.
Before I go on, I am aware that the humble egg has had rather a mixed press in recent years. Now I think that it is due for a comeback as a healthy and protein rich food source. Scares about cholesterol and other nasties have largely been alleviated through the advent of a whole range of new varieties that are genuinely good for you. Apart from being rich in vitamins A, D, B and E they are low in calories; only 78kcals for a medium egg.
To make Eggs Benedict you are going to have to set aside at least 40 minutes for preparation, of which 20 minutes will be given over to actual cooking. For 2 servings you will require:
Ingredients 2 muffins, sliced into halves 120g good quality honey roast ham, finely sliced 1 tbsp vinegar salt and fresh ground black pepper 4 good quality large eggs
For the Hollandaise sauce: 90g Butter 2 egg yolks Salt pinch paprika (smoked or otherwise)
For the infusion: 40ml white wine vinegar 40ml White wine 5 peppercorns 1 garlic clove, peeled 2 parsley stalks juice of half a lemon
To make the Hollandaise sauce put the the white wine vinegar, white wine, peppercorns, garlic, parsley stalks and lemon juice into a saucepan. Bring this infusion quickly to the boil and reduce by half, then put it aside to cool.To clarify the butter place it in a heat proof basin and melt over a pan of boiling water. The clear butter will rise to the surface, skim it off the top and reserve, discard the heavier fats in the whey. Now put the egg yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a very gently simmering pan of water, add 1 tablespoons of the cooled infusion and whisk continuously until the yolks begin to thicken. The trick is to stop before the egg begins to cook to a solid consistency. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously while adding at least 1 tablespoon of the infusion,using a hand blender if you have one. Add a pinch of salt and paprika to taste.
Meanwhile, split your muffins and lightly butter and toast. Top each muffin with a generous slice of ham.
Boil a medium saucepan two thirds full of water and and a dash of vinegar. Reduce to a simmer and stir to create a whirlpool effect. Crack 4 eggs into the water and poach for about 3 minutes. While eggs are poaching place ham on muffins under a grill fora minute or so.
Remove eggs with a slotted serving spoon, drain and top each muffin with poached egg. Then cover each muffin with a generous layer of Hollandaise sauce. To finish, return to grill until Hollandaise sauce is golden brown then serve immediately.
And the only thing that remains is to pick up a fork and enjoy eggs like never before. It's worth the time and effort to give yourself this well deserved treat.