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Eggs Benedict is the undisputed king of brunch. In fact, you can make the argument that it's the original brunch dish.
The story of its creation is – and likely will forever remain – a mystery, but the tale involves hangovers, aristocrats and multiple legendary New York institutions: the Waldorf Astoria and Delmonico's.
The reason eggs Benedict has remained atop the brunch throne is the dish's versatility; many brunch joints even have entire menu sections dedicated to the decadent tower of carbs, protein and fat. Versions involving crab cakes, avocados and any other number of ingredients keep the early afternoon staple fresh and exciting.
Over the years, even Delmonico's – one of the establishments that claims to have invented the dish – has updated its recipe, but the historical fine-dining restaurant still keeps things classic with just a couple nice touches here and there.
Below is the current Delmonico's recipe.
For the eggs Benedict
- 12 3/⁄4-inch slices of brioche cut into rounds
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 pound prosciutto cotto, thinly sliced (cut into rounds the same size as brioche)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 12 poached eggs
- hollandaise sauce (recipe below)
For the hollandaise sauce
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 dash Tabasco sauce
- 1 dash worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 cup clarified butter
- To taste salt and pepper
- 1 ounce Osetra caviar
To make the hollandaise
- Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce and worcestershire sauce in a stainless steel bowl over a double boiler of lightly simmering water until the eggs have doubled in volume.
- Slowly drizzle in clarified butter while continuing to whisk vigorously until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and keep in warm place until ready for use. If the sauce thickens add a few drops of water.
To make the eggs Benedict
- In a medium nonstick skillet lightly brown prosciutto cotto rounds & keep warm.
- Lightly brush brioche rounds with room temperature butter. Toast until golden brown on both sides
- Fill a 10-inch skillet half full with water, add 1⁄4 cup white vinegar, and bring to slow boil. Immediately reduce to a low simmer and slowly break eggs one at a time into water and cook until egg white has set (about 3 minutes). Remove eggs with slotted spoon & drain.
- Place warm toasted brioche rounds on plate, top with prosciutto cotto, place poached eggs on prosciutto and top with hollandaise sauce. Garnish with Osetra caviar.