Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eggs Benedict with Spinach Pesto

Making eggs benedict is like being part of a symphony. Every ingredient is like an instrument. Each plays an important part and must be in precise orchestration. If you miss one step or get off beat, the entire performance could end up in shambles.

For one, you have to have eggs poached perfectly with warm, runny yolks, hot buttered toasted English muffins, and a creamy, golden Hollandaise sauce. And even more difficult--each must be completed all about the same time.

When I order Eggs Benedict at a restaurant, I can't help but feel like royalty as I eat them.
Eggs benedict is definitely for a special occasion. And only those who have made them will fully appreciate them.
So if you're looking for a way to show someone how much you care for them, make them Eggs Benedict.

Poaching the eggs is by far the most difficult part, in my opinion. But that doesn't mean they are impossible to make. Actually with the right tools, they can be rather simple.

Easy Poached Eggs

  • fresh eggs
  • water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar (rice vinegar works well)


  • shallow saucepan with cover
  • slotted spoon

  1. Fill your saucepan 2/3 full with water. Bring water to almost boiling. (If the water is already boiling, lower the heat until it is no longer boiling.) At this point, you can add one or two teaspoons of vinegar to the water, if you want. The vinegar will help the egg whites to coagulate more easily. (Thank you Alton Brown for teaching me this word.)
  2. Make sure to only work with your eggs one by one. Crack an egg into a small cup, then place the cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop the egg into the water. With a spoon, gently nudge the egg whites closer to their yolks. This will help the egg whites hold together.
  3. You can either turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 4 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked. Or you can leave the stove on (water simmering slightly), cover the pan, and watch carefully--the egg will cook faster this way. But must watch the egg CAREFULLY, because a few seconds in human time is minutes in egg poaching time. Every second counts.
  4. Lift the eggs out of pan with a slotted spoon.
  5. Want to know a cool trick I figured out a couple of years ago? Poach your eggs in a mason jar lid (ring included). Oil the lid, place it in the pan of hot water, drop the egg over the mason jar lid, let it settle in the ring, and then turn off the heat and cover. And voila! Perfectly shaped poached eggs in just a few minutes!

Note: Fresh eggs will be easier to poach than older eggs. This is because they don't spread out as much. Vinegar is optional, but it will help the eggs hold together. However, if you don't like the taste, omit.

Hollandaise sauce may seem intimidating, but if you make it in a blender, it is actually rather easy and has a wonderful consistency.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco (or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and hot

  1. In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.
  2. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the hot butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately.
  3. Pour sauce into a glass bowl or serving pitcher. 
  4. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the serving container in a pan of hot water.

Pesto sauce is usually made with fresh basil leaves, but when you don't have fresh basil on hand, or you are just too poor to afford it (like me), then spinach works almost just as well.

Spinach Pesto
  • 4 cups washed, torn spinach leaves, stems removed, well packed
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I like the flavor of extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit if you want it dairy-free)
  • 1/8-1 teaspoon salt (the amount will vary if you add the Parmesan cheese or not)

  1. Place a few spinach leaves, garlic, pine nuts, basil and a little oil in blender or food processor. Cover and puree until leaves begin to look crushed. 
  2. Continue adding spinach leaves with small amounts of oil to blender. Use a rubber spatula to help to combine pureed mixture, and to scrape off the sides of the food processor/blender. 
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and salt. Cover and process until spinach pesto mixture is smooth.

To assemble:
  • 8 pieces of cooked bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian bacon or smoked salmon (whatever floats your boat)
  • 4 slices of tomato
  • 8 slices of avocado
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 2 English muffins, sliced
  • Butter
  • Spinach Pesto

  1. As soon as all the eggs are in the poaching water, begin toasting your English muffins. (You can gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set them in a bowl, if your muffins are not toasted in time.)
  2. After the muffins are toasted, butter one side of an English muffin. Slather with spinach pesto. Top with two slices of bacon or 1 slice of Canadian bacon or a piece of smoked salmon. Lay a tomato slice and 2 slices of avocado over that. Put a poached egg on top of the avocado, and then pour some hollandaise sauce over.
  3. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. 
  4. Repeat with additional ingredients.
  5. Serve at once.

Eggs Benedict were made to be eaten with a fork and a knife.
Makes you feel like royalty, ya know?

Dev. He was all messy. No one really likes their picture taken while they are eating, but he is just so cute, I couldn't resist :)

Question of the Day:
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
I love oatmeal with bananas, dried figs, and cinnamon :)

THANKS for reading!
<3 Sarah


  1. who's that good-lookin' kid in all of your pictures? ;)

    1. That hottie tottie is my boyfriend, Devin. Isn't he adorable?!


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