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Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
This contemporary recipe for eggs Benedict calls for sliced honey-cured ham and toasted sourdough bread spread with a piquant green onion butter. Classic hollandaise is made foolproof by whisking cubes of chilled butter into the warm yolks, which helps keep the sauce from separating.

Ingredients:

For the green onion butter:

  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
     temperature
  • 3 green onions, white and light green portions,
     minced

For the hollandaise sauce:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 20 Tbs. (2 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut
     into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced cooked honey-cured ham
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • 12 eggs
  • 4 green onions, white and light green portions,
     chopped
  • Paprika for sprinkling

Directions:

To make the green onion butter, in a bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the butter and green onions until evenly blended. Set aside.

To make the hollandaise, in the top pan of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk. Place the pan or bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in the bottom pan of the double boiler or in a saucepan and continue to whisk until warm and frothy, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter pieces a few at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated before adding more. Continue to whisk until all the butter has been incorporated and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes total. Stir in the lemon juice and season with a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper. The sauce can be kept warm over barely simmering water for up to 3 hours, stirring from time to time.

Preheat an oven to 200°F. Wrap the sliced ham in aluminum foil and place in the oven to warm. Toast the bread slices, then spread them lightly on both sides with the green onion butter. Keep warm until serving.

To poach the eggs, in a large fry pan, pour in water to a depth of about1 1/2 inches. Add the salt and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so that the water is just below boiling. Working quickly and being careful not to crowd the pan, break an egg into a saucer and gently slip it into the water. Repeat with more eggs, keeping them well spaced. Cook just until the whites have set and the yolks are glazed over but still soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spatula, carefully remove the eggs from the water, letting them drain well, and place on a plate; keep warm. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

To serve, place 2 toasted bread slices on each warmed individual plate. Top each slice with an equal amount of the ham, then place a poached egg in the center of each slice. Spoon an equal amount of the hollandaise sauce over each egg. Sprinkle the top with chopped green onion and paprika. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2004).