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Recipe: Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Steamed Spinach

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Today's recipe is for eggs Benedict with an egg yolk-based Hollandaise sauce, but substituting smoked salmon for the typical Canadian bacon and also adding some optional steamed spinach.

SERVES:
2

INGREDIENTS:
2 English muffins
4 ounces sliced smoked salmon

for the Hollandaise:
6 tablespoons melted butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch cayenne pepper

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar for adding to poaching water

approx. 4 cups raw spinach, steamed in 2-3 teaspoons water

PROCEDURE:
Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small pot on the stovetop.

As the butter is melting, crack and separate the yolks from the whites of 3 large eggs and add the yolks to a medium size stainless steel mixing bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the yolks, and whisk them up.

Then, place the bowl with the egg yolks over the top of a deep medium-size pot with 1-inch of gently simmering water, without the bowl touching the water, and then very slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs, whisking the eggs as you go until they thicken up, and immediately take the bowl off of the heat. (see hints below)

If you're using the spinach, add a couple of teaspoons of water to a saute pan and add a big handful of spinach, and cook it along to wilt down and dry out a bit.

Along with toasting the English muffins, the last thing you'll want to do is poach the eggs.

Set the spinach off to the side and place a medium-size pot with 4 inches of water in it onto the stovetop and bring that up to a simmer.

Adjust the heat so the water is gently simmering along and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and then carefully add the eggs one at a time, and immediately set the timer for exactly 4 minutes. (see hints below)

While the eggs are poaching, place the toasted English muffins on plates and top those with sliced smoked salmon and steamed spinach and, once the timer goes off, very carefully use a slotted utensil to add one poached egg to each one.

Top that with a spoonful of Hollandaise and finish with an optional sprinkling of paprika.

HINTS:
You want the Hollandaise to thicken up enough, as it gently cooks, so that the bottom of the bowl can be seen in medium-wide streaks while you're finishing up the whisking. You can add a teaspoon or two of water if it seems to thicken up too much.

After whisking and cooking the eggs and melted butter, turn the heat off on the double boiler, let it cool down for a minute or two, and then place the bowl with the Hollandaise back on top to keep warm.

Crack the eggs into individual small bowls, so you'll know the yolks aren't broken, before carefully adding them to the simmering water.

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