Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Variations on a Theme
I've never been a fan of eggs Benedict. For one thing, I don't really like poached eggs - I prefer them either scrambled or hard boiled. For another, I find them awkward to eat. Have you ever tried to cut an English muffin with a knife and fork? English muffins were made to be bitten. A plain toasted buttered English muffin is truly heaven on its own and should not be loaded down with a drippy egg. And for yet another, you have to get your Hollandaise sauce ready to go before you can begin the rest of the recipe (and good luck with poaching eggs if you've never done it before). For my money, this is truly a restaurant meal if you want to indulge.
And yet I find the concept interesting because the basic recipe yields itself to so many other approaches. The variety of what you might call Benedictine egg dishes is truly impressive and makes good reading, even if you have no intention of making them yourself. As I was writing this piece it occurred to me that the egg McMuffin is in fact a low-rent twist on the idea of eggs Benedict. You're welcome.
Eggs Sardou, while by no means low calorie, is an interesting vegetarian twist on the idea. Artichoke bottoms sub in for the English muffin, and they are topped with creamed spinach... then the egg and Hollandaise. This one I would eat.
Then you have eggs Hussarde - similar to Benedict, but incorporates a slice of tomato on top of the ham/Canadian bacon, and is served atop a red wine sauce with onions, mushrooms and minced ham. Wow. You won't need to eat for the rest of the day.
I found a recipe from an inventive chef blogger titled Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch, served on a slice of sauteed polenta instead of an English muffin, with arugula and Parmesan on top instead of Hollandaise. This sounds awfully good; extra points if served to you by Mr. Cumberbatch himself.
Sling some asparagus on top of your muffin and you have Asparagus Eggs Benedict. I was somewhat disappointed that this variation did not have a fancy name attached.
New Orleans, known for its rich and fancy French based cuisine, is a true haven for Eggs Benedict and all its variations. Brennan's restaurant, which has been around for more than 70 years, seems to be very well known for these dishes. Should you find yourself there and wish to up your cholesterol count, this is the place to go. I think that I will need to practice my Hollandaise sauce skills before attempting any of these myself.