Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mother's Day Brunch

eggs benedict

I made Eggs Benedict for Debbie, except that I used smoked king salmon instead of Canadian (back) bacon. The recipe for hollandaise came from the recent Gourmet cookbook, which I'm finding is my most reliable source for the classics. It's never let me down. I used the yolks of eggs that our chickens laid earlier in the morning. The recipe is pretty straightforward: 3 egg yolks, 2 sticks of unsalted butter (I used Plugra, which has less water than the usual brands), 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of water, and some salt and pepper. You melt the butter, let it stand for 3 minutes, skim off the foam. Whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water over low heat until the mixture is just getting thickened, so that you can see the bottom of the pan in tracks left by the whisk, but don't let it curdle (i.e. cook). Then remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter very slowly, drop at a time, then teaspoon at a time, then tablespoon at a time. It was perfect in flavor and consistency. I've never figured out how to make a hollandaise that ends up much hotter than room temperature, but I'm paranoid about overcooking it. Some people suggest pouring it into a thermos right after it's done.

Poaching an egg without a poacher is easy if you have a large saucepan. Bring water to a simmer and add a little vinegar. Put each egg in a small bowl, and pour it into the water while holding it just above. I find that if you pour it fairly quickly, it clumps into a nice ball that flattens out into a perfect poached egg shape on the bottom of the pan. If you pour it slowly the egg white diffuses out a bit more, which isn't a disaster, but you have to gather it all up with a flat strainer. The eggs simmer 2-3 minutes.

The drink was, naturally, a mimosa. The table is in front of our almost-finished spa and water feature.