The sauce known as hollandaise is made with warmed egg yolks, flavored with lemon juice, and loaded with butter, making it a favorite brunch option for special occasions and holidays. My dad and I would always make the hollandaise together on Christmas day and Easter mornings. Since butter is gradually incorporated to make a thick, creamy sauce, it is much easier to make this recipe with two people. One person constantly whisks while the other slowly dribbles in the melted butter. The hollandaise is then slathered over a toasted English muffin, which is then layered with warmed Canadian bacon, a perfectly poached egg, and another generous spoonful of hollandaise. Yum!
Hollandaise adapted from Julia Child
Ingredients for Hollandaise:
- 1 ½ sticks melted butter, plus 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
To assemble Eggs Benedict:
- 3 English Muffins, sliced horizontally and toasted
- 6 slices Canadian bacon (warmed in a sauté pan over medium heat)
- 6 poached eggs (I use an egg poacher and cook the eggs 3-4 minutes until egg white is set and yellow is still runny)
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Parsley to garnish
- Set up a bain-marie or double boiler: Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Find a bowl that will fit snugly within the saucepan without touching the boiling water below. In that bowl, before placing it over the boiling water, whisk the egg yolks for 1 minute. Whisk in the water, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and beat for another minute.
- Place a tablespoon of butter in the bowl but do not stir it in. Place the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk the egg yolks until they slowly thicken into a smooth cream, about 1-2 minutes. Continue beating the egg yolks over the simmering saucepan until you begin to see the bottom of the pan between the strokes of your whisk. The mixture should form a light coating on the whisk.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of cold butter.
- Slowly (seriously, drop by drop) pour the melted butter into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, to taste.
- To assemble: Spoon a tablespoon of hollandaise over each of the English muffin halves. Top with Canadian bacon and the poached egg. Sprinkle egg with salt and pepper and top with hollandaise. Garnish with a fresh sprig of parsley and Enjoy!
How Julia Child poaches an egg: For those who do not have an egg poacher, I’ve included Julia’s advice on how to make perfectly poached eggs:
- Pour 2 inches of water in a small sauce pan and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Bring to a simmer.
- Break one of the eggs into a small bowl and then pour it into the water, holding it as closely over the water as possible. Gently push the white over the yolk with a wooden spoon.
- Allow the egg to cook over a low simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the egg to a cold-water bath to stop cooking. Dry egg gently on a paper towel.