Saturday, March 6, 2010

eggs benedict burger

eggs benedict burger

One of the most delicious things in the world is Hollandaise sauce, and for good reason. I mean it's mainly egg yolk and melted butter, two things that make pretty much everything richer and better. Add in a squirt of lemon juice, a few drops of hot sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper, and you've got some liquid love to pour over your plate.

It almost sounds too good to be true, and I have to admit, there is a catch. Actually getting the sauce to the proper creamy state is no easy task-- all too often, the sauce breaks and you wind up with lots of grainy yellowness floating in butter, and you want to break down and cry. However, there is an easy save which I find myself relying on 9 times out of 10: add a splash of cream or half and half and whisk until everything magically comes back together. Whenever this happens to me, I can't help those feelings of despair that come creeping in: "this time I've really ruined it! my hollandaise is beyond repair!" By now, I should know better than to doubt cream's restorative powers, as this is a never fail fix.

Of course, part of the problem I think I keep having is that I am trying to do without a double boiler, which most recipes recommend you use in order to get the eggs to cook without scrambling. Instead, I've tried adding the melted butter into a bowl with the yolk, lemon, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and beating that together before putting that over the heat again to thicken it. For some reason, this doesn't work quite as well as the traditional method, which I've tried on less lazy occasions. Feel free to go the extra mile with the double boiler, but if you don't, you've always got the cream trick up your sleeve.

Anyway. Hollandaise sauce is great over steamed vegetables, but of course is best known as the main component of eggs benedict. I like to make up my own variation of the dish with the expected english muffin, bacon and poached eggs, elevating it to dinner or lunch status by serving it on a nice meaty burger. Nathan and I did this last week with grass fed beef I got from the food co-op's winter share. Both of us were amazed how different the grass fed beef tasted— so much meatier, almost like marrow. It wasn't necessarily better than the beef you're used to, but it was definitely an unexpectedly delicious change. We made half pound burgers, which is larger than I usually eat, and it was more than I could finish. It was also a little bigger than my muffin could handle, so you might want to follow Nathan's lead and use a nice kaiser roll. I love kaiser rolls, but they are usually much bigger than the burgers I eat, and in this case eggs benedict is supposed to be on an English muffin.

You may notice that the hollandaise sauce in the photo, (which features an earlier benedict burger made with ground beef from the butcher), is a little weird looking. That's because I melted the butter in with the bacon grease that was already in my pan, so there's some bacony crumbs mixed in there. This was tasty, but made me feel even more like I was about to have a heart attack, so keep that in mind before you try it in your own kitchen.


  1. I think hollandaise is one of my favorite food groups.

    If you don't have a double boiler I've found great success making hollandaise either in a blender or with one of those soup wand hand held things. Whip up the yolks and add the melted butter, literally drip by drip and blending it as you go, making sure that it's emulsifying properly. Then add the lemon and seasonings and if you serve it immediately there's no need to put it back on the heat thus avoiding the scrambled egg factor.

    But oh man do I know that feeling of despair, I get it every time I try to make custard. I don't think I've ever actually made one that DIDN'T have little eggy bits in it :(

  2. Yeah, I think part of the reason I have problems is that I am lazy about dirtying extra plates and things, like blenders or bowls that could be placed over pots to become double boilers. If I wasn't generally able to salvage things, I'd probably take less short cuts and therefore have an easier time of it.