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Classic Eggs Benedict

Classic Eggs Benedict
This well-known brunch dish never goes out of style. When tomatoes are in season, consider topping the ham with a broiled tomato slice before crowning it with the egg and the hollandaise.

Ingredients:

For the hollandaise sauce:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. lemon and lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 pinches of freshly ground white pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and
      cooled slightly
  • 4 English muffins, split, or 8 crumpets
  • 3 Tbs. softened unsalted butter
  • 8 slices baked ham, each 1/4 inch thick and cut
      to fit English muffins or crumpets
  • 8 eggs

Directions:

Preheat a broiler.

To make the sauce, in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk the egg yolks, lemon and lime juice and water constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and continue whisking for about 1 minute more, but remove the pan from the heat as soon as the mixture thickens. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper and blend until smooth. Let cool for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour in the melted butter in a thin stream until incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.

Lightly spread the cut sides of each muffin or the tops of each crumpet with 1 tsp. of the butter and broil until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the broiler, cover the muffins or crumpets with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 1 tsp. butter. Add the ham and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Keep warm.

Fill an egg-poaching pan with 1/2 inch water, set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lightly coat the poaching cups with nonstick cooking spray and crack an egg into each cup. Cover and cook until the whites are firm and the yolks are glazed over but still soft, about 3 minutes, or until done to your liking. Transfer the eggs to a warmed plate and repeat with the remaining eggs.

Place 2 muffin halves or 2 crumpets on each of 4 warmed individual plates. Top each muffin half or crumpet with a slice of ham, an egg and some of the sauce. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Brunch Entertaining, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1999).