Eggs Benedict >
For the chef, correct preparation of eggs Benedict requires balance and timing. But in some ways the bruncher has the harder job: interpretation and enjoyment. Of course, at some level taste and flavor become subjective, but some initial pointers for brunchers are given below.
Hollandaise is the most complex part of the preparation. It should be neither overly thick nor overly runny—if you press a fork into the hollandaise it should pull away leaving small peaks that settle back slowly.
The flavor should be silky, not oily, with a slightly lemony tartness.
Poached or Dropped Egg
Ideal poached or dropped eggs have a slightly runny yolk that blends with the hollandaise. The poaching water must be fresh and hot. Tradition has it that the fresher the egg, the better it will hold its shape when poaching.
The ideal muffin is toasted so that the top and raised edges are crisp, but the center is still warm and soft. The muffin should be neither dry nor flaky. Ideally, the muffin should be a single muffin split in half, not a mix-and-match set of two tops or two bottoms from different muffins.
The traditional slice of black truffle is now largely lost, though in some cases it has been replaced in effigy with a slice of black olive. Parsley is no longer an acceptable garnish.
Eggs Benedict cannot stand alone; perfection requires that it should be accompanied by potatoes. Frites should be light, slightly crispy, and should work well with the Hollandaise. Roasted potatoes should be roasted with a touch of garlic or rosemary (or both), and should not be so oily that they begin to fight with the Hollandaise.
Temperature must be balanced—muffin, ham or canadian bacon, and egg should be of comparable temperature, not hot but very warm. Hollandaise can be slightly cooler. Potatoes and plate should be warm.
Ideal temperature is cool enough that you can take a bite immediately upon receiving the plate on your table. Warm enough so that the food is not cold when you begin the second egg.
The bruncher’s Greenwich Mean Time is 4:00 in the afternoon on any given Saturday. Anyone can brunch on a Sunday at 11:00 am, but it takes a real pro to push the Saturday late-afternoon envelope.