Eggs Benedict: Breakfast Eggs with Charm

Eggs benedictIf you are tired of making scrambled eggs or fried eggs for breakfast, you might want to flex your culinary muscles a bit and try cooking Eggs Benedict. Although the dish sounds quite fancy, it is actually quite “doable” in any ordinary kitchen. You start by lightly toasting an English muffin, and then you top these with bacon and poached eggs. Just before the dish is served, the eggs get a generous dollop of Hollandaise sauce as their crowning glory. There you have a dish fit for royalty!

The History of Eggs Benedict

In “The History of Eggs Benedict, the magazine Kitchen Project – Food History gives several versions of how the dish may have started. One version says, “Eggs Benedict” – 1860s -Credit is given to Delmonico’s Restaurant, the very first restaurant or public dining room ever opened in the United States. In the 1860’s, a regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, finding nothing to her liking and wanting something new to eat for lunch, discussed this with Delmonico’s Chef Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899).

“Ranhofer came up with Eggs Benedict. He has a recipe called Eggs a’ la Benedick (Eufa a’ la Benedick) in his cookbook called The Epicurean published in 1894.:Eggs à la Benedick – Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, then place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached egg on each toast. Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce…”

There must be something quite special with Eggs Benedict because at least three other people claim credit for its creation!

Variations on the Theme

Eggs Benedict has caught the culinary fancy of so many cooks there are nearly countless versions of it. Julie R. Thomson writes about some of these versions in Huffington Post’s17 Twists on the lassic Eggs Benedict Recipe.” Three of her most interesting entries are Country Style Eggs Benedict, Sweet Corn Cake Eggs Benedict with Avocado Hollandaise, and Salmon and Bagel Benedict.

The Country Style Eggs Benedict contains cubed steak, and it uses biscuits as its bread base. A final innovation for this version of Eggs Benedict is the use of gravy instead of Hollandaise sauce.  The Sweet Corn Cake Eggs Benedict is a bit fussier; it uses made-from-scratch cakes from corn flour. Of course, the use of avocado Hollandaise gives this version a touch of Mexico, except that the corn cakes can be fried in bacon grease. The Salmon and Bagel Benedict is another delightful surprise; it uses poached salmon and bagels as its base. This dish is garnished with avocado, lemon, and chili.

Pairing Eggs Benedict with Wine

One of the nicest things about Eggs Benedict is that you can indeed create so many version of it, and each version can be excitingly different from the others. The other thing about it is the fact that although Eggs Benedict is considered breakfast food, it is sophisticated enough to pair with wine. In “Best Wine Pairings for Eggs Benedict”, Fiona Beckett says, Although it’s so good you could eat it at any time of day – at least I could – it’s primarily a breakfast or brunch dish which suggests, if any alcohol at all, champagne, sparkling wine or a sparkling wine cocktail…”

So there it is, Eggs Benedict for a special breakfast! Try the classic version if you dare, or a simplified version of your own. Paired with champagne, it could be the best “breakfast in bed” treat for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, wedding anniversaries, or any day you choose to make special.

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