Eggs Benedict

“Brunch without booze is just a sad late breakfast”
 
We’ve established a tradition with some of my girlfriends – a Sunday brunch. Needless to say – a girl thing only. Quality time to talk, laugh, enjoy good food and a glass of bubbles. We’ve been having such a great time for the last few Sundays, we have decided it must turn out to be our thing for as many Sundays as possible. Last week has been hectic and I did have a Lithuanian Culinary Heritage presentation on Sunday night, but that’s what traditions are for – the girls must have their priorities straight.
This Sunday it was turn for Eggs Benedict. In fact, quite a modified version in comparison to the original recipe. Come to think of it… The only original ingredients on the plate were the hollandaise sauce and poached eggs.
I had written a while ago, that this specific sauce has made me run away – tried 3 or 4 times without any luck and so this time I promised myself I will be patient and persistent. Needless to say – turned out perfectly fine from the very first time.
 
Ingredients:
* Ciabatta buns 
* Eggs for poaching
* Smoked salmon
* Arugula salad
* A dash of olive oil (or butter)
* Salt’n’pepper for seasoning
* Vinegar (I used rice)
 
For the hollandaise:
* 3 eggs yolks
* 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
* 100 g butter 
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
 
Preparing eggs benedict requires certain orchestration – make sure you have stuff ready for preparation in a way that nothing gets cold. Most importantly – the eggs and the sauce itself. If you let the sauce sit for a while unattended, it will thicken and look nothing like appetizing.
 
I start of with clarifying butter. All the times I tried making hollandaise before, always used simply melted butter – didn’t work out. For a simple demonstration how it is clarified – watch a video. Once the butter is clarified you can let it sit until the time comes for the preparation of the sauce.
 
Then start with a large pot of water – get it on the stove and until it gets to boiling, prepare ciabatta and set it on the plates. Toast the buns sliced in half in butter or olive oil. Lay the buns on the plates and top with smoked salmon and arugula salad. 
 
Prepare the sauce. Put the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl and using a mixer at a high speed beat until the eggs lighten in color. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and continuously beating carefully and slowly dribble in the clarified butter. Taste for salt and acidity – if more is needed, add to taste. Transfer it to a container to be used for pouring the sauce and set it on warm, but not hot surface, near or on the stove.
 
The water should be boiling by now. Turn down the heat to simmering. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar and working one egg at a time you crack an egg in a small bowl and slip it into the simmering water. It will start solidifying very quickly – slip in the other eggs. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit for a few minutes (up to 4, depending on the size of the eggs). Gently remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, starting with the eggs that went in first and serve on the ciabatta’s, topping it with the hollandaise.
 
For Sunday brunches best served with some chilled bubbles. 
Bon appetit and cheers!

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