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Eggs Benedictine

Eggs Benedictine (Eggs Benedict):

the authentic and the counterfeit version

for those who (think they) don’t know how to cook

I love recipes with history and stories associated with culinary dishes. This season I have been investigating the delights of the great chef’s kitchen French Carême, among whose star dishes is its hollandaise sauce, and through it I have discovered other preparations that also carry this sumptuous sauce, such as the “Eggs Benedictine” (“Eggs Benedict”), whose curious and aristocratic origin made them become a traditional delicacy. from the Waldorf Astoria and other luxury hotels. Carême’s contribution to these eggs is due to the fact that they are covered with a blanket of the sumptuous Hollandaise sauce, of which the French chef was the inventor.

The Eggs Benedict They have two curious versions of their provenance:

According The Epicurean. A Complete treatise of analytical and practical studies on the culinary art, The great American cookbook, the credit for these eggs goes to the “Delmonico” restaurant, the first public restaurant or dining room open in the United States. In the 1860s, a regular customer of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, tired of her usual menu and wanting to try something new for lunch, asked the chef, Delmonico Chef Charles Ranhofer (1936-1899), to serve her something appetizing and different, and he pleased her with some poached eggs on toast with york ham, which he then called Eggs Benedict by the surname of the aforementioned lady. The client, delighted with such preparation, proclaimed the delight of this dish, and soon became famous. Chef Ranhofer author of the great cookbook, The Epicurean, He published his recipe in 1984 and since then his prestige has not stopped growing, being found on the breakfast menus of large international hotels.

However, there is another more popular version that appeared in the weekly New Yorker Magazine (12/19/1919), in the “Talk of the Town” column, which is based on an interview with the subscribe (celebrity) Lemuel Benedict one year before he died. This is the second story about this dish:

In 1894, a Wall Street broker, millionaire and tycoon, Lemual Benedict, after a tremendous sham, went to breakfast at his favorite restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1894 and asked the Chef to prepare something different for him that would combat his tremendous hangover, suggesting some English muffins (muffins) cut in half, with slices of cooked ham, and poached eggs, placed on the bread, and covered in “a hooker of Hollandaise”, an expression on which rivers of ink have flowed.

This version is also mentioned in the book Brunch: A history, by Farha Ternikar, who basically describes her as: “A plate of eggs on toast or bread muffin (toasted English muffin), with a slice of york ham or serrano ham, a poached egg in water, and on top a portion of Hollandaise sauce “. For this recipe, the word used for the portion of Hollandaise sauce is” a hooker of hollandaise “, which was the one originally used by Lemuel Benedict, and which has literally been translated by a” prostitute from Dutch “. This expression, apart from exemplifying how dangerous it is to translate things literally (” hooker “means” prostitute “), it seems that in American English of 1894 it had a quite different meaning, although nobody knows how to say what it means. Some even say that the magnate, stunned by the effects of his imposing binge and still somewhat confused, made a strange association of words , which gave rise to all kinds of evil interpretations.

These eggs soon became a classic of American food, and were especially served in the brunch, that food straddling breakfast and lunch, which has become so fashionable even in present-day Spain. New versions emerged, adding other ingredients; well the english muffins (muffins) were replaced by sliced ​​bread or all kinds of sophisticated breads, york ham was exchanged for bacon, serrano ham, and even smoked salmon and lobster; and the only thing that lasted was the hollandaise sauce, without which these eggs would change their names.

A counterfeit version

I have to admit that these eggs are delicious but they have two culinary difficulties: Hollandaise sauce and poaching the eggs in water at the exact point. For this reason, I have invented a very simple version available to people who only know how to fry an egg (do not be complex if you do not know, it is not so easy); that is, they have no culinary knowledge. Instead of muffin, you can use any sliced ​​bread or bun, covered in york ham or serrano, or salmon or bacon, and on top of it a fried egg or the grill, and I substitute the difficult hollandaise sauce for a commercial mayonnaise. And I assure you it is a spectacular dish “

However, I will also give you the original recipe so that when you go to the Waldorf Astoria to try its great brunch, you recognize if they give you cat for hare.

Original version

Ingredients:

Per person:

a round bun, similar to a McDonald’s burger

but cool

a slice of york ham, serrano ham, bacon or smoked salmon

egg

hollandaise sauce (two tablespoons); see recipe here

Optional: tomato, lettuce, arugula, etc. to decorate

Elaboration:

1. Toast the bun on both sides in a pan:

2. We pass the york ham, bacon, serrano, etc. also for the pan:

3. Prepare the water to boil, with a tablespoon of salt and a splash of vinegar; This was my mother’s procedure for making poached eggs (which she called “poached” in water). The trick of the vinegar makes them not break and come out hard on the outside and with the yolk very soft since it must spread throughout. Cook them for 3 minutes on a fire that produces a very slow boil:

4. Place them on top of the york ham (or whatever you use); I like york or salmon because they are very good:

5. Finally, you add a good amount of hollandaise sauce, it is decirl “a hooker of a holandaise sauce”.

Counterfeit version:

The same ingredients except for a commercial mayonnaise sauce.

Elaboration:

1. We toast the bun, or the sliced ​​bread, on both sides; for faster in the toaster:

2. We pass the york ham, or bacon, 0 serrano, etc. through the pan and place it on top of the toast:

3. We fry the egg, or we put it on the grill, until the yolk is done but we try that the yolk does not dry, because the grace of these eggs is that they spread throughout the plate:

4. You place it on top of the ham (or whatever you use); I like york or salmon because they are very good:

5. Finally, you add a good amount of commercial mayonnaise sauce, it is decirl “a hooker of mayonaise sauce”.

BON APPÉTIT AND GOOD LUCK !!!!!

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