5-4: Eggs Benedict

I believe in a couple of things–nobody’s perfect, and all things eventually balance out. My experience with this recipe, 5-4: Eggs Benedict, especially relative to how the rest of the meal went, encapsulates both of those ideas.

In the days leading up to making this Mother’s Day brunch (MD2017), I knew I needed to practice two things before the big day: poaching eggs and hollandaise sauce–I’ve had trouble with both in the past. Guess what I didn’t do?

I procrastinated on practicing both my egg poaching and my hollandaise, and those were my exact failure points on this recipe. After the jump, you can read about what went really well (my homemade English muffins) and what didn’t (my broken hollandaise sauce, for one).

I chose to make this recipe because whenever we go out for breakfast/brunch, there’s a pretty good chance my mom will order Eggs Florentine, a spinach/vegetarian version of Eggs Benedict. I thought that’d be an impressive main course for my “fancy brunch at home” concept–if I practiced the parts I knew I’d be weak on. As you can read in 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces, I’ve had trouble with hollandaise before, and my egg poaching isn’t much better.

Since this had to mostly be a day-of recipe, the table was set and the guests already sitting & waiting for their meals when I had to do the bulk of the work. You can see 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries all wrapped-up and waiting for the meal. As I learned, it’s hard to be a line cook (especially when you’re running a solo line) in your home kitchen.

Ingredients. I started this marathon cooking session off days earlier by making these English muffins from Serious Eats. This was what impressed my mother the most–that I made my own English muffins. I had store-bought ones waiting in the fridge in case it didn’t go well, but luckily those turned out great.

I don’t show the spinach here (or really anywhere), but I sautéed fresh spinach leaves with some garlic and caramelized onions and used that for my mom’s plate instead of the Canadian bacon that I used for everyone else’s.

I tried making my hollandaise in the food processor like I watched the chef at the restaurant I worked at do every Sunday, but I COULD NOT get it to work properly, and the guests were sitting, waiting, and hungry. This is what I get for not practicing properly.

I chose to make hollandaise instead of the recommended Mousseline sauce because the latter has whipping cream in it, which is less friendly to lactose-sensitive people than just plain hollandaise, even though they both have butter. There’s a bunch of different butter sauces–check out 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces for some different interpretations of one of the five mother sauces.

I broke down and tried to do it on the stove as a last ditch effort to at least get something usable. You’ll notice I have very few pictures of any other part of the process–I was in the weeds and taking pictures was the last thing on my mind. I’m lucky I even thought to take these.

The only proof I have that I actually got the sauce to work–unfortunately it took me messing up about 4 eggs while attempting to poach (something I practiced, but nowhere near enough) to give up and just fry the egg instead. In the time it took me to freak out, recompose myself, and get the first ones plated, the sauce broke again and I couldn’t bring it back.

A plated one, after the hollandaise sauce broke. I did a mixed country potatoes (5 different types) with caramelized onions and peppers on the side along with 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad. Overall, it wasn’t as much of a failure as I make it sound, but I clearly still need to work on mastering poached eggs and hollandaise sauce–this recipe experience shows there’s always improvement to be made.

Grade: A-

Interested in the other dishes that I made for this year’s Mother’s Day brunch? (MD2017)