Whether Mother’s Day, New Year’s Day or I Survived Another Week Day, Eggs Benedict makes for a special brunch or weekend breakfast. Instead of traditional Canadian bacon, I use smoked salmon to top toasted English muffins with poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and a sprinkle of bright green chives. Instead of butter-based Hollandaise, I make a lighter, yogurt-based Hollandaise that is healthier and more waistline friendly while still fantastic.
Recently a friend told me she loved Eggs Benedict but never attempted to cook it because she was intimidated to poach eggs. Poaching eggs the traditional way takes a little practice, sliding shelled eggs into a pan of simmering water while trying to swirl the white around the yolk for a nicely shaped poached egg. Thankfully, there is an easier way.
I use an egg-poaching pan fitted with an insert that makes it simple. The result; perfectly round, pretty poached eggs. If you like poached eggs or Eggs Benedict, buy one of these inexpensive pans. Fill the pan part way with water, bring to a simmer with the lid on, then quickly but carefully crack eggs into the non-stick cups keeping the yolks intact. I give my insert cups a short spritz of non-stick spray for insurance.
To make it easier, break the eggs into individual cups or small dishes first, then slide the eggs into the poaching cups. Get the lid back on as quickly as possible and time for your preference. I usually poach my eggs for 3 ½ – 4 minutes. You may need to experiment to find what’s perfect for you. The white should be cooked and solid, the yolk still a little soft and runny when you break into it with your fork.
Make the healthy yogurt-based Hollandaise first and keep warm on the stove top. While you’re at it, warm some plates in the oven. It makes a difference in keeping your food warm to the table. If you don’t like smoked salmon, pile up thinly sliced deli ham or turkey. For a vegetarian version, use sautéed baby spinach or whole artichoke heart bottoms. Thinly sliced and sautéed sweet red bell peppers work well too.
For a Mexican twist, top the Eggs Benedict with a few spoonfuls of your favorite salsa and add a sprinkle of grated Jack, Cheddar or Queso Fresco cheese. For garnish, top your eggs off with finely chopped chives and a pinch of paprika for color. Any way you make it your own, enjoy. For a real celebration, serve with a glass of Champagne, sparkling wine, or freshly squeezed orange juice.
Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon & Healthy Hollandaise
4 English muffins, split in half, toasted and buttered if desired (keep warm)
8 ounces smoked salmon, Canadian bacon, ham, deli ham or deli turkey, divided into eight portions
8 large, very fresh organic eggs without any cracks
1 recipe Yogurt Hollandaise (or traditional Hollandaise or salsa)
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
8 pinches of sweet or sharp paprika
1) Make the hollandaise, or plan to use salsa.
1) Toast muffins and spread with a little butter if desired. Keep warm. Portion smoked salmon into eight portions and top the muffins halves.
2) Fill an egg-poaching pan with water according to manufacturers directions. Spritz poaching cups with a little non-stick spray. Bring water to a boil and turn down to a simmer with the lid on. Gently crack eggs and slide into poaching inserts without breaking the yolk. Place lid back on and poach 3 ½ – 4 minutes. When done, turn out onto paper towels to drain extra poaching water. Quickly place on top of muffins topped with salmon, then top with Hollandaise. Sprinkle with chives and paprika. Serve immediately.
Healthy Yogurt-Based Hollandaise Sauce
I adapted this recipe from the Fine Cooking Magazine website. It’s far healthier, with a lot less fat the traditional butter-based Hollandaise. This is guilt-free Hollandaise, so enjoy over eggs, asparagus, other vegetables, as a dipping sauce for artichokes or any dish finished with Hollandaise.
Yield: about 1 cup
3/4 cup plain low fat or non-fat Greek yogurt (about a 7 ounce container)
3 large or extra large fresh egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (I like a little more)
1 generous teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar or a squirt of a liquid sugar like agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I like a little more)
Pinch of white pepper (white pepper disappears)
Dash of hot sauce (I use Sriracha or Tabasco)
Warm water as needed to achieve consistency preferred
1) Fill a medium (about 4 quart) saucepan with two inches of water. Choose a stainless steel bowl that will sit partially inside of the saucepan without touching the water to create a double boiler. Fill the pan without about two inches of water and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
2) In the bowl, whisk the yogurt and egg yolks together until smooth. Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, melted butter, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Place the bowl over the simmering water and cook the Hollandaise until thick and creamy, about 6 minutes. it should coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready. Dip the back of a spoon into the sauce and draw your finger across it. If the line holds its ready.
You may want to whisk in a teaspoon or two of warm water to achieve the consistency you prefer. Without water the sauce will be quite creamy and thick. Water will thin the sauce and make it more pourable.
To serve, pour a tablespoon or two over Eggs Benedict. This sauce is also great over asparagus and other dishes suggesting Hollandaise.
For more recipes and tips on poaching eggs and Hollandaise try these links:
Poaching eggs the old fashioned way, at What’s Cooking America
Traditional Eggs Benedict, Simply Recipes
All butter, traditional Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce, from Simply Recipes
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