Monday, May 17, 2010

Understanding Benedict

In many places around the world it was Mother's Day a little while ago. Wifey and I had gone jolling the night before, and so the kids were away at Granny's house for the night (and, happily, for the following morning as well). So, being the fantastic husband that I am, I bought a bunch of roses and tried to make Eggs Benedict for my good lady for breakfast.

Now, Eggs Benedict has a reputation for being kind of snooty breakfast food, as well requiring a particularly experienced chef to not muck it up. The basic recipe is that you lightly toast an english muffin, layer some bacon on that, then a poached egg, then top with Hollondaise sauce. Aside from toasting the muffin, the rest of those steps are pretty tricky to pull off with Jamie Oliver flair and apparent ease.

Oh, and I had a hangover, so I forgot to take any photos, you're just going to have to trust me that it actually did look quite like this recipe, that I found at Country Living, City Style.

I wasn't actually going to describe the recipe in this post. The point of today's lesson is more about understanding how to balance a few simple flavours into a great meal.

You see, Hollondaise is pretty simple to prepare, but what is complicated is getting the ratio of ingredients to taste right. It consists of a few egg yolks, some salt, some lemon juice, and a fair amount of boiling butter. Oh, and some hot sauce of your liking.  The trick is that the boiling butter cooks the egg yolks slightly, and creates a super creamy texture and rich flavour. Then the sweetness of the butter / egg mixture is balanced with a some tangy lemon juice, and the whole lot is made a little more flavourfull with some salt and chilli sauce.

My attempt was completely edible, although I think  it was too tangy, and not chilli enough. I will try again sometime and promise to take photos then.

I'm babbling. Just remember to think about the balance of flavours when you're making this, and judge your quantities very carefully.

On a different note, clearly my cooking once again moved on to a completely new level of awesomeness with my newfound ability to poach eggs.

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