Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast or brunch dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, bacon or ham, and hollandaise sauce. The dish was first popularized in New York City.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3 English muffins, opened
- 6 ounces (6 slices) thick-cut Canadian bacon
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 6 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
- Make the clarified butter: Heat a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water over medium heat until steaming. Place a medium heatproof glass bowl over the steaming water. Place the butter in the bowl and let it melt completely until the butter has separated and the milk solids have sunk to the bottom of the bowl, 10 minutes.
- Skim any milk solids that may be floating on the top, then slowly pour the clarified butter through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. You want to pour out only the clear yellow butter. Stop pouring as soon as the opaque milk solids are left, reserving both the clarified butter and milk solids separately, and keeping the clarified butter warm.
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the English muffins on a sheet pan, nooks and crannies side up, and brush each with the reserved milk solids. Bake until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Keep warm.
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Keep warm.
- Prepare a large pot of salted water and add the vinegar. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and heat to 180°, where there is visible steam coming off the surface of the pot, but the water is not simmering.
- Meanwhile, make the hollandaise sauce: Refill the small saucepan from step 1 with an inch of water and heat over medium until steaming. Place another medium heatproof glass bowl over the steaming water.
- To the bowl, add the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Whisk constantly until the egg yolks are pale yellow and thick, 1 to 2 minutes. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in ½ cup of the warm clarified butter (reserve any extra for other uses) until thick and creamy. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Keep warm.
- Poach the eggs: Once the pot of vinegar water comes to 180°, crack the whole eggs into 6 small bowls. Use a slotted spoon to make a whirlpool in the water. Then, one at a time, drop the eggs into the center of the pot. Poach, gently stirring occasionally until the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny 3 to 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line up 3 plates. Place an English muffin on each plate, then top each half with a slice of Canadian bacon. As soon as the eggs are poached, remove them with a slotted spoon and dab on a paper towel to dry before placing over the Canadian bacon. Spoon some hollandaise over each egg, then sprinkle with more cayenne and serve.