Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weekend Comfort Food: Eggs Benedict

It's only Wednesday, but if you're anything like me, you're already thinking about and planning for what you will be eating this weekend.

A few weeks ago, feeling emboldened from our experiments with pasta making, I declared that I wanted to make Eggs Benedict as our next food challenge. According to Julia, all good cooks should know how to work with egg yolks under any condition, and I knew that Hollandaise needed to be part of my repertoire. If nothing else so we can enjoy my favorite breakfast food - Eggs Benedict - whenever we want to. Santa Fe does not have any good Bennies that I’ve found so I knew we needed to take matters into our own hands.

Now, let me tell you how it’s done (picture me as the Ham in The Sandlot explaining to Smalls how s’mores are made…)

First you take the muffin. You stick your fixins on the muffin. Then you poach the egg. When the egg is perfectly poached, you stick it on the fixins. Then you cover it with Hollandaise sauce. THEN, you scarf!

The traditional Benny has ham, but I wanted a vegetarian Benny so I used roasted fennel, sauteed mushrooms and wilted arugula - mostly because those are veggies I already had on hand. Poaching the eggs can be tricky, and I hate an overcooked yolk. Check out Smitten Kitchen’s advice on a perfectly poached egg. We have had pretty good luck with this method. And, you all know the story of the sauce - ridiculously finicky and ridiculously delicious. Aaaaaand, just to make it more of a challenge, I made my own English Muffins.

Honestly, after having the homemade ones, I barely want to touch store-bought muffs. These are so tasty and flavorful. I wasn’t able to produce the nooks and crannies that we all know and love, but nonetheless, these are winners. I used Ruth Reichl’s recipe found via Smitten Kitchen. She warns about the dough being too wet so I purchased small metal rings just in case, but I didn’t have this problem at all. I do notice that Deb didn’t mix it for five minutes like the recipe calls for and she added all the flour at once. I don’t know anything about baking so I don’t know if this could have made the difference, but my recommendation is to stick to the recipe! If your dough does turn our runny, which mine didn’t at all, see the link for Deb’s instructions for using the metal rings.

English Muffins
From Ruth Reichl via Smitten Kitchen, slightly adapted to omit the metal rings and Alton Brown’s method

⅓ cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons butter + more for cooking
1 ⅔ cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
5 cups flour

Mix warm water with sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in milk. When cool, add to yeast mixture along with egg, salt, and white vinegar. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix, at medium speed, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups more flour and mix well. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Preheat a griddle to 300 degrees F. (This makes no sense to me as our griddle is cast iron and sits on the stovetop to be heated… I used our biggest cast iron pan with a cover.)

Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop dough and form into disks about a 1/2 inch thick. (I recommend sticking to this size to begin with. I made my first ones way too big and they took forever to cook through.) Dredge in cornmeal. Place in the buttered cast iron pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, covered. Flip muffins and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack.

Slice, serve, scarf!

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