Toasty ciabatta bread, perfectly poached eggs, savory serrano ham – all topped with a velvety hollandaise. This is our rendition of the exalted Eggs Benedict. Serving this special breakfast on Mother’s Day is testament to the adage (probably learned from your mother) that actions speak louder than words.
Believe it or not, Eggs Benedict has American roots, dating back to the late 1800s. Yet it is the French hollandaise sauce that sets this dish apart. While it’s not extremely difficult to make, timing and attention to detail are essential. Setting out all your ingredients before you start – your mise en place – will help you pull this delectable dish together like a pro.
Contributed by Kelly Sterling
For the Hollandaise:
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pinch ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon water
1 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
12 thin slices serrano ham
4 slices ciabatta bread
1 bundle asparagus
To Make Hollandaise:
Fill the bottom of a double boiler half way with water. Bring water to a simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, white pepper, cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon water.
Slowly add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise gets too thick, add a teaspoon or two of hot water until desired thickness. Continue whisking until all butter is incorporated. Whisk in salt, then remove from heat. Set to the side and place lid on it to keep warm.
To Poach Eggs:
Fill a large saucepan with about 3 inches of water. Bring water to a boil, then lower the temperature to a gentle simmer. Add vinegar. Gently break eggs into simmering water and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Yolks should still be soft in center. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and set on a warm plate.
Blanched Asparagus Spears:
Bring a large pot or kettle of water to a boil. Trim the ends off asparagus and line the spears in a baking dish. Pour boiling water over them and let them rest for 3-5 minutes. Test after 3 minutes for desired crispness. When done, transfer asparagus onto a plate and salt to taste.
Slice ciabatta into 4 generous pieces. Toast on a grill or in a grill pan until lightly browned.
Place a slice of ciabatta bread on each of four beautiful plates.
Layer with 3 slices of ham, then gently top with 2 poached eggs. Drizzle with hollandaise. Sprinkle with chopped chives, arrange the asparagus alongside and serve immediately.
The quintessential brunch cocktail, the Bloody Mary can be as spicy or mild as your mother would like it. Add layers of flavor and texture with garnish that includes a garlic-stuffed olive, a slice of bacon and a pickled string bean.
Classic Bloody Mary
Contributed by Kelly Sterling
4 oz. of your favorite vodka
12 oz. tomato juice
8 drops red hot sauce
8 drops green hot sauce
4 quick dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 oz. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
4 pinches salt
4 pinches black pepper
Add ingredients to a large pitcher and stir vigorously.
Our Brilliant Bloody Mary Garnish
This delectable substitute to the ubiquitous celery stalk will please everyone at the table.
On a cocktail skewer or toothpick, spear:
Pickled green beans
Olives stuffed with garlic
Pour Bloody Mary into ice-filled glasses, garnish and enjoy.