Classic Eggs Benedict

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According to the classic legend, Eggs Benedict was invented in New York in the 1860s at Delmonico’s restaurant in Manhattan to rejuvenate the decidedly bored palates of upper-crust regulars, Mr & Mrs Le Grand Benedict. The revisionist myth suggests that the dish was born when Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street businessman, ordered toast, bacon, poached eggs and a jug of hollandaise as a hangover cure at the Waldorf Hotel in 1894. The maître d’hotel — one Oscar Tschirky of Waldorf Salad fame and previously the head waiter at Delmonico’s — then added it to the menu. Either way, one bite of this soft pillow of poached egg and bacon and I’m set for the day.

Ingredients

  • 900ml/ pints water
  • 60ml/2fl oz distilled white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Sea salt
  • 6 large, free-range organic eggs
  • 6 English muffins, halved
  • 175g/6oz good bacon, thinly sliced
  • A handful of fresh chives, chopped

For a Cheat’s Hollandaise

  • 12 heaped teaspoons of a good quality mayonnaise
  • 3 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 90g of good freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • Lemon juice of lemons
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat your grill. For your cheat’s hollandaise, gently mix the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and a wee splash of water in a small heat proof bowl over a simmering pan of water. Stir occasionally. When warmed and well mixed, add the cheddar and a pinch of salt and of pepper and stir gently until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Meanwhile, get working on your eggs. Measure your water, vinegar and sea salt into a pan and heat to a simmer. Crack 3 eggs, carefully, into three separate small cups. One after the other, pour the eggs against the side of the pan so that they slide smoothly into the simmering water and vinegar. Cook each egg for about 3 minutes, so the yolk is still soft and the white is firm. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the pretty white dumpling of egg on some kitchen paper and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs.

Place the bacon under the grill for 3—4 minutes on one side and around 2 minutes on the other. Lightly toast your muffin halves under the grill, just a couple of minutes each side.

Put a muffin piece on each plate, dividing up half the bacon between them. Top each one with the remaining muffin half, the rest of the bacon, and a poached egg. Drape a few tablespoons of hollandaise sauce over the top, and sprinkle with freshly chopped chives.

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