Contributed by: Madison Whisnant
Ah, Eggs Benedict. A little slice of heaven for breakfast! I’ve always been a fan, but let me explain when the real love affair began. It was summer in New Orleans on my honeymoon. We met up with a couple of friends who live in the area for breakfast in the French Quarter. Now, I know it’s not surprising to hear that someone had “the best meal of their life,” in New Orleans, but it’s probably true! Hello! It’s New Orleans! We went to a cute little restaurant on a corner, Stanley. There was no one there, but I’m going to guess that all of New Orleans was at Café du Monde, considering the line we saw around the restaurant. It’s the “touristy” thing to do. I’m certainly not hating on those fluffy little pillows of deliciousness, but there’s a whole world out there, ya’ll! That morning, I wouldn’t have rather been anywhere in the world except that little restaurant, with those people, stuffing my face with the most amazing Eggs Benedict to ever grace my taste buds. Let me spell it out for you: crusty French bread, mouthwatering Boudin, perfectly poached egg, creamy creole hollandaise sauce, and garnished, GARNISHED with fried oysters! It was all over. Hands down, I will never be able to recreate that meal, but it sparked a love in me that sent me on my quest to find my own perfect way to make my favorite breakfast.
If ever we are eating at a nice breakfast restaurant, it would be a safe bet that I’m going to try the Eggs Benedict. My mother-in-law and I have that in common. I can remember when I first met my husband he said, “If you really want to win my mom over, you need to learn how to cook Eggs Benedict.” By this time, I had had at least one of Patti’s famous, on the ranch and off, breakfast spreads. Back then nothing could terrify me more than, 1. Trying to live up to her cooking, or 2. Trying to cook her favorite breakfast ever! Today, l would love making it for her, and she’ll probably be really sad that I’m making it today while they’re out of town!
The thing that makes the dish, for me, is the meat used. Any old Canadian-style bacon, meh. It’s the classic meat for Eggs Benedict; however, it just doesn’t do it for me. Our pasture raised Heritage Pork Center Cut Ham Slices or Biscuit Cuts are perfect to build this dish around. The full-flavored Hickory smoked ham with no added nitrates will quickly become your favorite breakfast staple. Here we go:
Eggs Benedict with Heritage Pork Center Cut Sliced Ham
1 Can Coke
4 Egg Yolks
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 1\2 Stick Unsalted Butter
Dash of Hot Sauce
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
4 Eggs for Poaching
English muffin or (my favorite) Crusty French Bread
- Bring pot of water to a slow boil then reduce to simmering
- Add 2 Tbsp. white vinegar to water
- Crack an egg into small bowl or mug
- Slowly stir the water to create a “whirlpool” effect
- Slowly release the egg into the side of the “whirlpool.” Gently keep the whirlpool going being careful not to break the egg.
- Egg should cook 3-4 minutes or until the white is completely set.
- Gently remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
- Repeat with remaining eggs.
- Melt 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter in a small sauce pan
- Separate out 4 egg yolks into a small bowl then place in blender
- Add 3 Tbsp. lemon juice or juice of one lemon to egg yolks in blender
- Blend for a few seconds until eggs and lemon juice are slightly frothy
- Slowly, SLOWLY stream in the melted butter while blending
- With blender off, add salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Blend a few more seconds.
- In a skillet on medium-high heat, brown ham on both sides
- Pour in half of a can of Coke
- Cook ham in Coke for about five minutes, flipping every minute
- Remove ham and let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving
To assemble, lightly toast bread or muffin in the oven. Layer ham, salt-and-peppered poached egg, and desired amount of hollandaise sauce. Top with chopped chives. Serve immediately.
Yummy! Be still, my beating heart!