Toothsome Images / Recipe: Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon Benedicts

03.25.2014

This is easily one of my favorite brunch recipes, surprisingly simple to make but beautiful to serve.  Wood-smoked bacon and creamy poached eggs on top of a toasted English muffin and drizzled with chive and lemon infused hollandaise sauce.  It’s also my go-to during the busy holiday season because three key parts of this recipe can be made in advance:  the clarified butter, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.  You can find this recipe and other holiday breakfast favorites in Diane Morgan’s The Christmas Table, photographs by EJ Armstrong.

 eggs benedict easy best

 

Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon Benedicts

{Serves 6}

1 pound apple wood-smoked bacon

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

12 large eggs

6 english muffins, split and toasted

2 tablespoons finely snipped chives for garnish

Freshly ground pepper for garnish

 

Hollandaise Sauce

4 large egg yolks, with thick white piece clinging to the yolk removed

2 tablespoons water

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, clarified

1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely snipped fresh chives

 

Position one rack in the center and another rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

To make hollandaise sauce, fill the bottom pan of a double boiler or a medium saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Place the egg yolks and water in the top of the boiler or in a heatproof bowl that will fit snugly on top of the saucepan and place over the water.  Reduce the heat to low and whisk the yolks and water continuously until the yolks start to thicken and form a custard, 2 to 3 minutes.  (If the mixture is cooking too quickly, remove the top pan or the bowl from the heat and set the base in cold water to stop the cooking process.)

Remove the bowl or top pan from the heat and set it on a damp towel on the counter.  Whisking continuously, slowly pour the clarified butter  into the yolks in a fine stream.  The butter will emulsify into the yolks as if you were making mayonnaise.  Whisk in the salt, white pepper, cayenne, lemon juice, and chives.  If the sauce is too thick, thin it down with a few drops of warm water.  Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve by placing the bowl or pan in a pan of warm water no hotter than the sauce.  If it is too hot, the sauce will curdle.

Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with a double thickness of paper towels.  Arrange the bacon strips in a single layer, without crowding, on the baking sheets, dividing the strips evenly.  (The paper towels keeps the bacon from splattering and cooking directly in the rendered fat.)  Bake until the bacon is cooked through but still meaty and pliable, about 12 minutes.  (If the bacon is too crisp, it is hard to eat when layered on the Benedicts.)  Cut the bacon strips in half crosswise.  Keep the bacon warm while you poach eggs.  (Toast the English muffins while the eggs are poaching.)

To poach the eggs, have a dinner plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels ready.  Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches in a large saute pan.  When the water boils, add the vinegar and salt, and then adjust the heat so the water is at a simmer, not a rolling boil.  Poach eggs 6 at a time.  Crack each egg into a separate small bowl and slip them one at a time into the water.  After 2 to 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to lift an egg to see whether the white has completely set.  When it has, remove the eggs with the slotted spoon and carefully set them on the paper towel-lined dinner plate.  Use kitchen shears or a paring knife to trim any ragged edges or “tails” from the whites.  Keep warm in a low oven while you poach the remaining 6 eggs.

To assemble and serve, arrange 2 toasted English muffin halves on each warmed brunch plate.  Place 3 pieces of bacon on top of each English muffin half.  Place a poached egg on top of the bacon.  Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the top of the eggs.  Garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and a couple grinds of pepper.  Serve immediately.

 

About the photographer: EJ Armstrong is the chief art and cookie addict at the Black Building. She has thirty years of experience in the visual world, making her the lead nagger, design junky and advice columnist. You can find her on Instagram @avisualist or see more of her photography here.


Posted By: EJ
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