Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.

How To Poach An Egg: The egg is cracked into a bowl of any size, and then gently slid into a pan of simmering water and cooked until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft. It is quite common for a small pat of butter or margarine to be added to the container for the egg, to prevent the egg sticking to its container. The 'perfect' poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust and no raw white remaining.

Fresh eggs will yield the best results. Broken into simmering water, the white will cling to the yolk, resulting in cooked albumen and runny yolk. To prevent dispersion of the white of the egg, a small amount of vinegar may be added to the boiling water. Stirring the water vigorously to create a vortex may reduce dispersion. Special pans, with several small cups, allow a number of eggs to be poached at the same time. Other methods of producing poached eggs, such as using cling film to keep the egg perfectly formed have been documented.

If the eggs are at room temperature, the cooking time is 2 mins 30s to 2 mins 40s. If the eggs are taken from a refrigerator, then a longer time of about 3mins is required. Dipping the eggs into cold water for a few seconds immediately after taking them out of the boiling water helps prevent over-cooking.

Hollandaise Sauce: It is so named because it was believed to have mimicked a Dutch sauce for the state visit to France of the King of the Netherlands.

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice. In appearance it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy. Hollandaise is considered to require some skill and knowledge to prepare and hold. Properly made, it will be smooth and creamy with no hint of separation. The flavor will be rich and buttery, with a mild tang from the lemon juice yet not so strong as to overpower mildly-flavored foods. It is best prepared and served warm, but not hot.

There are multiple methods for preparing a Hollandaise sauce. All methods require near-constant agitation, usually executed with a wire whisk. First the yolk and lemon juice (or water) should be whisked off heat until light and frothy, then while whisking vigorously over warm water, becoming pale yellow and expanding two or three times in volume.
Then removed from heat, warm (not hot) butter (or clarified butter) is added slowly to the sauce in dribbles. The sauce can be served promptly, at room temperature, or having being brought to room temperature after refrigeration. It freezes well, easier to thaw and reconstitute if frozen in portions.

Text Credit: Wikipedia Wikipedia
Image Credit: Belathee Photography [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL 1.3 (www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.3.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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