The Benedictine order when it comes to eggs is four-fold: An English muffin, ham (or any other meaty alternative), poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce. While its origin is arguable, no one can debate that when cooked right it’s absolutely delicious, a layered multi-textural masterpiece that’s sweet, salty, soft, crunchy, smoky, and sometimes even tangy (read Jamie Oliver’s instructions).
It seems simple to make. And it is–once you have the key elements ready. By then the only problem will be to layer it straight. Perfect Hollandaise takes time, patience, and a good right arm (whisking is hard work!). Poaching eggs? I should dedicate two separate entries just discussing it.
But this isn’t a how-to. No. That would be like the blind teaching the blind. I have made Eggs Benedict, but they’ve never looked quite as attractive and appetizing as the ones I’ve seen in restaurants or on TV. So while I’m not an expert Eggs-Benedict cook, I know what makes it good and when it’s good. I’ve been seeing blog posts of people in search of the perfect milkshake or the best affogato and I’ve always wanted to have a personal gastro journey outside of work. I have no idea why it took this long to decide what to write about. Eggs Benedict was an obvious choice.
Our first candidate is from Cafe 1771 which offers two options: Classic (made with ham–P350) and Smoked Salmon (P420), which is really called Eggs Hemingway. Unfortunately they ran out of the former so I has no choice but go for the salmon. Visually, it was a delight! Toast spread on the plate with pinkish salmon under plush eggs and smothered with sunshine-hued Hollandaise.
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But after a bite, something felt off. Was I just so used to ham that I couldn’t adapt to the soft, cool, fleshy fish? No. It was a matter of balance. Eggs Benedict is a sensory experience that takes your tongue and palate on a delicious ride. The squishy salmon with a runny egg and lots of sauce makes it a tad one-dimensional. No contrast. Nothing gritty to offset the “softness.” The toast was just too thin to add some texture; overpowered, it became rather soggy in the end. By the second one, I was alternating bites with forkfuls of my side salad.
It might have been better if they used hot-smoked salmon which is flakier and a bit coarser instead of this almost-sashimi-like take. Still, it might have been better if they had ham.