Saturday, October 2, 2010

Poaching Eggs and Eggs Benedict

Jeff and I's special thing to do is to go to IHOP at obscene hours of the morning, where I would get strawberry banana pancakes, no whipped cream, and extra strawberries, and Jeff would get nutella crepes.  One day, Jeff decided to get something different to mix things up: eggs benedict.  Being a person who is not particularly fond of the taste of eggs, I wasn't up to date with different type of egg dishes.  I do like to experiment, even on things I don't like, so I asked for a taste.   The combination of meat, bread, egg, and sauce created a dynamic array of flavors, and I was hooked. 

At home, I looked into creating a version for myself.  I bought English muffins, eggs, and ham (Jeff doesn't like bacon).  The first step was to learn how to poach eggs. 

Poaching Eggs

4 eggs
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Pour water into a large tall skillet so the water is at least 1 1/2 inches deep.
Heat the water and bring to 190 degrees.
Add the white wine vinegar.
Gently crack each egg into a different custard cup, being careful not to break the yolk. 
Slowly lower each cup into the water, and gently pour into the egg.
Cook for 4 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature.
Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, one at a time, to a paper towel lined plate.
Trim the sides of the egg whites with a spoon to clean up the appearance, and serve.

I learned recently through an episode of MasterChef that you can create a poached egg by filling a tall pot with water, spinning the water, and placing the egg in it.  While this might do the job for one egg, my way successfully creates 4 poached eggs at the same time.

The next task was to create the hollandaise sauce.  In the multiple times I have created this dish, I've tried many different versions, but I still haven't found a version I'm satisfied with. 

There are two common ways to create hollandaise, with a blender, or over a double boiler.  The two main components of the sauce are egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice.  The blender version is considerably easier to make;  mix the egg yolks, lemon juice, and other spices into the blender and blend, then add melted butter and mix.  The double boiler version is trickier; mix the egg yolk in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, whisking constantly.  Remove the bowl once the egg is the consistancy of whipped cream, and add the butter, lemon juice, and other spices. 

Today I attempted a version of the double boiler, and failed in multiple ways.  I kept the eggs on the boiler too long, and it started to turn into micro scrambled eggs.  I dumped that batch, and started with a new, being careful to not go too far this time.  I'm pretty sure I ended up undercooking them.  The whole batch was super watery, as you can see in the picture coming up.   I'm still seaching for the perfect thick consistancy that I see at IHOP.  Even though the consistancy wasn't right, it still tasted good, which is the most important thing.

Eggs Benedict

Ingredients (2 servings)

4 eggs
4 slices ham
2 English muffins, split in half
spray butter
hollandaise sauce
chives or green onions

Poach 4 eggs.
While eggs are poaching, warm ham in skillet, and lightly toast the English muffins.
Spray butter over the English muffins, top with ham, with one poached egg, and topped with hollandaise sauce.
Sprinkle with chives or green onions, and serve.

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