By lex, on May 13th, 2007
It will not have escaped the astute observer that today is Mother’s Day, in consequence of which the All-Girl Spending Team was permitted to lay abed this morning, ditching out of our quotidian obligations of a Sunday – it is hoped that this will not be held against us in time.
In the spirit of doing something special, like, and to suit the occasion your correspondent found himself in those strange and alien environs of the house known colloquially as the “kitchen” – an environment customarily forbidden him on account of the many thumbs that he was gifted with and the horrible mess he tends to leave in his wake.
“Eggs Benedict,” he thought and “how hard could that be?” for haven’t we had it our very own selves at restaurants great and small across the land?
Unless your household is very much better equipped than is our own, the first obligation upon embarking on such a journey of culinary exploration would be to whip up some sauce Hollandaise from scratch. (At this point, the informed reader may want to interject that perhaps it would be better to ensure that all of the ingredients required for the enterprise were on hand, but what would be the sport in that? And anyway, it turns out white toast is an entirely adequate substitute for English muffins – kind of gives it a certain edginess, an almost proletarian affectation of creme-chipped-beef on toast. Hollandaise gone slumming, if you follow.)
Readers who are not so adventurous in the preparation of comestibles as is your humble scribe might grow alarmed at the quantity of ingredients, the kind and nature of which your cardiologist might stare at, that go into Hollandaise sauce. Vinegar and pepper reductions are all very well – although I had to look that last word up – but three egg yolks before you even get to poaching your first actual egg did seem rather a lot, even before we clarified (that means “melted”) an entire, four ounce stick of butter. The recipe actually called for six ounces ounces, but we’re not 25 any more, are we precious?
No, precious. We most certainly are not.
A very great deal of whisking was called for, in order to “increase the volume three-fold,” (I was forced to squint my eyes a bit at the last and say, “Close enough”) as the rosemary, egg yolks, butter and lemon juice were added, season to taste with pepper and salt. It was a little disconcerting to discover – based on the fact that those egg yolks hadn’t actually been, you know: Cooked – that the entire admixture was only to be warmed over a very low heat.
Poaching eggs isn’t as hard as it looks, but they’re deuced slippery out of the pan, so – based on the hard-won wisdom of the day – my recommendation is that you move the plate towards the pan rather than spoon the egg out and carry it across the kitchen towards the plate. Your dog may beg to offer an opposite view of the matter though, and ours was certainly well pleased at the results.
Everything came together like a charm though, and I can personally attest to the fact that the confection had its gustatory delights. All the more so since Herself reminded me, my labors being complete, that she’s not an especial fan of Eggs Benedict. A fact that should have occurred to me, with 25 years of experience to tap into.
Ah, well: It would have been a sin to waste ‘em.