Chef David Burke’s Tips for the Perfect Eggs Benedict
A lot of people think that the hollandaise sauce in an eggs Benedict recipe is what makes it so challenging, but I think it’s the poached egg. For some reason, when people try to wrap their minds around the idea of cooking an egg in water, they panic, and they look at eggs Benedict recipes with fear and distrust.
If you’ve ever watched your egg practically evaporate when you’ve dropped it into the boiling water, then you know what I’m talking about when I say that it was a failed attempt to poach an egg. To perfectly poach an egg you have to have the water at just the right boiling point, and if it’s too hot or too cold, your egg will pull that disappearing act.
For the perfect water temperature, you want to bring a deep pot of water up to a rapid boil. I like to add a little lemon juice or vinegar to my water so that there’s some acid in the cooking liquid. Once it’s at a rolling boil, remove the pot about one-third from the flame so that the flame makes contact with the side of the pot, rather than the bottom of it. This does two things: it brings the temperature down so that the rolling boiling is now a hard simmer, and it also helps giving the simmer a flowing direction, which will make it easier for the water to catch your egg.
Once your water is set, crack an egg not directly into the water but into a mug. Hold the mug about 4 to 5 inches above the pot (don’t let the height worry you), and drop your egg in the water. The reason I hold the egg so far above the water is because it lets the yolk of the egg touch the water first, protecting your yolk and creating a nice, rounded poached egg. Once the entire egg is a bright white, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and get ready to serve.
There’s nothing better than a classic eggs Benedict recipe, but I’m always trying to make things up with mine. Sometimes I serve the classic recipe in a hollowed-out baked potato, instead of an English muffin, and sometimes I go all out with my Spring Lobster Benedict, served with a rich hollandaise sauce made with Samuel Adams, and my Sea Scallop Benedict, served on potato cakes with spicy chorizo and a lobster foam.