Fishy Benedict Arnold: a First Attempt

So, I’m currently on a work schedule that has me working primarily in the evening. Yesterday, I realized that this schedule provides me with a golden opportunity to make delicious breakfast foods and post about them here. I’ve recently begun to enjoy eggs Benedict, so I figured that I would offer up my own pretty much non-unique twist on the eggs Benedict concept. Salmon Benedict is on the menu at nearly all my favorite brunch spots, but I’ve never actually tried it before. Something about a poached egg reminded me of a hard-boiled egg, and I’ve always been absolutely disgusted by them. However, in my recent endeavors to be more adventurous with what I cook and what I eat, I figured I’d try out this traditionally difficult breakfast. At least, somebody told me that it was difficult once. At several points in the process I nearly panicked, but I was able to ultimately make something that I was pretty proud of.

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I have never poached an egg before. I have never made hollandaise sauce. I have never separated an egg. I was very excited for this grand adventure this morning! I lined up my ingredients for a photo-shoot. They were very excited too.

Incidentally, I realized when I looked up a simple hollandaise sauce recipe that eggs Benedict is made almost entirely of stuff that I almost always have on hand.  I went out and got some fresh parsley and white vinegar, but I probably could have used white wine vinegar, which I always have.

First, I made the sauce.

I juiced a lemon by hand:

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My roommate has a little egg separator thing that you drop the egg into and it lets the white filter down and keeps the yolk in a little concave bit. unfortunately, it didn’t really work. I resorted to gingerly separating them by letting the whites filter through my hands. I didn’t bother to look up how to separate an egg before I made the sauce. I was making it much harder than it needs to be, apparently. I sort of successfully separated the eggs and added the lemon juice…

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…and then I vigorously whisked them together:

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I melted half a stick of butter (probably WAY too much):

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Then I set the whisked yolk / lemon juice mixture on a saucepan with a little bit of water that was lightly simmering.

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I slowly started to whisk in the butter, making sure that the temperature of the simmering water below did not increase too much so that my egg yolks would not scramble.

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This was the most difficult part of the entire experience. The warm melted butter seemed to harden the yolks quite a bit, even though I was spooning it in very gradually after the sauce became runny again as I whisked the butter in. I had to add about a teaspoon of room-temperature water a few times to bring the sauce back to what I thought was the correct consistency. After I added what I felt was enough butter (way less than what my recipe called for), I whisked in a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt. I tasted it, and it was surprisingly good. Subtle, but complex. I imagine that with farm fresh eggs, it would be much less subtle but equally complex.

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Oh, and thanks to my mom for providing me with enough corningware to sink a ship; it’s been handy quite a few times. I set the sauce in the oven at 190 degrees to keep it warm.

Now for the salmon, English muffin, and egg prep.

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Sliver of coconut oil into the pan, heated until just before smoking.

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I filleted the skin off the salmon and started to sear it in the pan. Then I cracked two eggs into a bowl / measuring cup and set them aside.

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I started to boil water in a stainless steel pot for poaching the eggs, but I realized about 3 minutes later that I would really benefit from a non-stick pot for the eggs, so I grabbed one and transferred the water over. Mind you, I have never poached an egg before, and I didn’t really look up how to do it ahead of time. I was flying by the seat of my pants. I guess it was a good instinct, but I’ll never know until I try to poach an egg in a stainless steel pot.

The salmon was cooking nicely (I turned it over when the color changed about 2/3 of the way through the cut of fish):

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My English muffin was in the toaster oven, ready to go at a moment’s notice:

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I was ready to go with the poached egg!

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Now, to be completely fair here, I did add two teaspoons of white vinegar to the water, because I read somewhere that it helped the white cook faster and not spread out in the water. So I did have a little bit of knowledge of poaching eggs, even though I’d never actually done it before.

…and we’re off!

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This and the next few pictures were taken within 2 minutes of each other. I will give a play-by-play of my thoughts as I was snapping the pictures. All comments below refer to the pictures above them. “Oh, crap, my water isn’t hot enough. better turn it up a bit. The white are separating and drifting all over the place. Crap.”

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“Oh, it’s sort of folded back onto itself. That’s good. The yolk looks incredibly exposed. That’s not supposed to happen. Crap.”

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“Okay, the whites are starting to come together and bond a bit more. The yolk looks very exposed. How am I gonna remove this without breaking the yolk? Crap.”

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“Hmm. It seems like the little trails of egg white have started to break off. I hope I’m left with the egg in one piece. But I’m not as worried. Still, crap.”

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“Okay, this looks a lot better. The whites have bonded together for the most part and started to solidify, and the flakes of white will probably fall off when I remove the egg with this slotted spoon that I just found in the drawer. Maybe this will actually be good after all.”

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“Well, this isn’t exactly Bon Appetit Magazine quality, but it’s done. Baby’s first poached egg.”

The second egg did nearly the exact same thing, except, I think I poured it in more gently, so it looked even better when it was done. Unfortunately, I cooked the second egg for about 45 seconds too long, and the yolk partially hardened.

I cut the salmon into two smaller pieces, toasted the English muffin, and plated some mixed greens.

I had to add a little bit more water to the hollandaise to make it runny enough to spoon onto the eggs. After the toast, salmon, eggs, and sauce, I added a pinch of parsley to each. The finished product:

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TASTE:

The sauce was fantastic. I’m very proud of that. The eggs, however, tasted slightly vinegary. I probably used too much vinegar in the boiling water, and the temperature wasn’t high enough, so they were exposed to the vinegar in the water for longer than they probably should have been. Also, one egg was, as I said before, slightly overcooked. See reference photos below:

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The egg that has been cut into is the egg that I cooked second.  The next image is of the first egg. Beautiful runny yolk.

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Overall, this has been a huge success. I will be repeating this sometime in the near future. Here is a gratuitous food porn picture of the finished product:

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The only downside to this meal is that the cleanup is enormous. SO. MANY. DISHES. Just for one meal. Definitely worth it though! That’s all for now.

STATS:

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Eating time: OM NOM NOM

Drunk Roommate Seal of Approval: unavailable for comment

Mood: OOOO YOU FANCY

Music playing while preparing: LCD Soundsystem: Dance Yrself Clean 

Peace!

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