As a recovering picky eater, I have oddly empathized with the curmudgeonly, closed-minded lead of the Suessian classic. The titular off-color breakfast acts as a clever symbol for the try new things!™ theme, which seems like a solid philosophy to follow when you think about how many experiences we miss out on because we’re too timid or closed-minded. So in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make a new variation on green eggs and ham? Like, benedict it?
At first, everything about eggs benedict was a “trying something new” experience for me. Poaching eggs is a more complicated technique than scrambling or frying, and hollandaise is notoriously difficult to properly emulsify. Let’s be real, though — the only way to level-up your cooking game is to give new recipes a shot. At worst, you do some culinary push-ups, and at best, you get to eat some awesome meals.
Official Possible Sources of Your Eggs Benedict Fear
1) How do you poach an egg properly?
Read on, friends. The recipe will walk you through it.
2) What if I’m cooking for a crowd? How do I poach all of those eggs?
You can streamline this entire process by poaching the eggs (I find two at a time the easiest) even further in advance and keeping them in ice water. When you’re ready, reheat the eggs in a bowl of very warm water for a few minutes.Using this method, you could theoretically poach all your eggs the night before.
3) Hollandaise looks complicated and everyone says it’s a really hard sauce to get right.
Hollandaise traditionally calls for slowly whisking clarified butter into egg yolks over a double boiler until you get a thick, emulsified sauce. I find that using diced cold butter yields a very similar result and saves quite a bit of time/stress. I have also seen hollandaise recipes that use an exorbitant amount of butter to egg yolks. So much so that the result is probably more of a mayonnaise. For the sake of my waistline and not making the dish too rich, I opt for a thinner, yet still very luxurious hollandaise.
4) How long does the hollandaise keep? Will it destabilize while I’m poaching the eggs?
It’s true, hollandaise doesn’t have a very long shelf life, but if you keep it over a bowl of warm water, it’ll keep for a good bit while you get all your other components prepared. Don’t worry if it destabilizes! Just add a splash or two of water and whisk. Broken hollandaise fixed.
I gave this benedict a bit of an Italian flair, with pesto hollandaise, capicola, and a sun-dried tomato purée spread on the base of toasted focaccia. 100% use thick tomato slices instead of the capicola if you’re an herbivore.
“Green Eggs and Ham” Benedict
White vinegar, for poaching
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium-sized squares of focaccia, cut in half
¼ cup sun-dried tomato purée (recipe below)
2 cups baby spinach
12 thin slices of capicola (prosciutto would also work; leave out or use sliced tomatoes if you’re an herbivore)
Pesto Hollandaise (recipe below)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Lower heat to medium so that the water is barely simmering. Add a splash of white vinegar.
Crack eggs into individual prep bowls or ramekins. Swirl the hot water to create a vortex and then gently add one of the eggs, continuing to swirl to form the egg whites around the yolk. After a few seconds, add the other egg and do the same thing.
Cook for about 3 minutes, until the whites have set and the yolk is still runny. Transfer the poached eggs from the pot to a large bowl filled with ice water. Repeat with the remaining four eggs (cooking two at a time) and keep the eggs in the ice water until ready to assemble.
Toast the focaccia slices in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown.
Fry capicola slices in the same dry pan over medium-high heat. Once the edges start to brown and fat renders, flip and cook for another one or two minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
To reheat the poached eggs: Fill a large bowl with the hottest possible tap water. Carefully lower in the eggs and let sit for four minutes. Drain on a plate with a folded paper towel. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To assemble the eggs benedict: spread each slice of focaccia with a thin layer of thesun-dried tomato puree. Put a small handful of baby spinach on each, then two slices of capicola, and a poached egg. Slather each egg with one or two spoonfuls of hollandaise, and you’re ready to serve.
(Makes about ½ cup)
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons pesto
In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and water. Put the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and add in butter. Whisk continuously for 5-10 minutes until the eggs and butter have emulsified to a creamy, light yellow sauce.
Off the heat, whisk in lemon juice, cayenne, and pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
Keep the Hollandaise warm by setting the bowl over a pot of hot water, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too thick or begins to separate, whisk in a few splashes of water.
Sun-Dried Tomato Purée
(Makes about 2 cups)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Bring the sun-dried tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in small saucepan. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Once the tomatoes have plumped up, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
Pour the tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth purée.
Transfer the puree to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.