Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
Isobel Wield
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

“Cut some muffins into halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, then place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached egg on each toast. Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce.” —from The Epicurean by Charles Ranhofer, 1894


3tablespoons white wine vinegar
4large free-range eggs
2 English muffins
4slices Serrano or Bayonne ham
Hollandaise Sauce
3tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 egg yolks
1 stick of butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste


  1. To make hollandaise sauce, put vinegar in a small saucepan with peppercorns and bay leaf. Reduce the vinegar over high heat until there is only 1 tablespoon left. Strain liquid, removing peppercorns and bay leaf. Put egg yolks in a food processor with the vinegar reduction.
  2. Gently melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat so that the butter solids fall to the bottom of the pan. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour butter on to the egg yolks with the motor still running. The sauce will start to thicken. When only the butter solids are left, stop. If the sauce is too thick, add a little hot water.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.
  4. Bring a deep saucepan containing at least 4 pints of water to a boil and add the vinegar. Break eggs into four separate cups or ramekins. Slice muffins and toast.
  5. Briskly swirl the water until it forms a vortex and carefully add an egg. It will curl around and set to a neat circle. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the other eggs, one at a time, re-whisking the water as you add the eggs.
  6. Spread hollandaise sauce over each muffin, place a slice of ham on top, and finish with a poached egg. Spoon remaining hollandaise over and serve.

Recipe courtesy of James Winter’s Book, Who put the Beef in Wellington?: 50 Culinary Classics, Who Invented Them, When and Why.