colazione / breakfast recipes

asparagus eggs benny

June 11, 2014

breakfast! as i’ve mentioned before, i really like unhealthy breakfasts. last weekend i had originally meant to make you guys an epic breakfast sandwich with homemade buttermilk biscuits (i ended up having an equally epic one sunday at Universal Grill – more on that later), but i woke up and decided to go for my first run in over a week so there wasn’t any time for biscuits. however, there was time for me to take what started off in my head as a healthy, post work out meal for me and the guy, and cloak it in artery clogging goodness.

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i ran (albeit a very short run), so that justifies it, right? right?! either way, i’m not even a little mad because this tasted beautiful. i started by trying to put together something from ingredients i had at home that wasn’t just bacon, eggs and toast. i thought to myself, poached eggs are always a win, i had some crisp, fat asparagus and i remembered i had some proscuitto in the fridge that needed to be used. it started off innocently enough. poached eggs on top of a salad with asparagus, parm and the crispy proscuitto. but how boring was that? i ended up wrapping the asparagus in the proscuitto and baking it, and making the best breakfast potatoes ever (guys, carbs though <3), but i still thought it needed a little kick. and then i caught a whiff of the bunch of fresh dill perfuming my fridge. and then the thought of melted butter came seeping into my head, and what were these poached eggs just begging for? hollandaise.

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i should have stopped at the thought, but before i knew it, i was melting a stick of butter and pulling out the eggs again. just think about hollandaise for a minute. it’s thick but airy at the same time, and coats your tounge in creamy richness that only things that clog your arteries can provide. it’s kind of magical if you think about it – you’re emulsifying (combining two liquids that are normally unblendable) using egg yolks (which contain the substance that make it possible for the oil in butter and water to blend together and stay together), and the right temperature of ingredients and lots of whisking to incorporate air so that science does it’s thing and creates this! the science of cooking is incredible.

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but this is almost (almost!) even better than regular hollandaise. a proper hollandaise sauce is a careful, patient work of art, mixing mixing and mixing and never letting things get too hot, and potentially burning your hands if you’re like me and don’t have a double boiler and are holding a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. this is made in a blender (or magic bullet) and turns out INCREDIBLE. i’m serious about this. i did quick google search of a couple recipes, and i made it while the last of the eggs were poaching. as long as your butter isn’t too hot and you make sure to blend in batches, it tastes and feels exactly like it’s supposed to, but in half the time. i always feel guilty not practicing proper techniques for things, so i vow next time to make it the proper way, but in the mean time this tastes so damn good.

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Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus Eggs Benny with Dill Hollandaise
*recipe enough for 2 people, but easily doubled

1/2 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
4 thinly slices pieces of proscuitto
4 eggs

1 egg yolk
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 teapsoon dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne
fresh ground salt and pepper
fresh chopped dill

1. Fill a wide, medium shallow saucepan with water, and heat on stove until just simmering.
2. Wash and trim asparagus, toss with a drizzel of olive oil and salt and pepper, then fry until just about cooked through.
3. Let asparagus cool a couple of minutes, then divide evenly, wrapping the proscuitto around the bundle to hold together. Place in an oven at 250 – they can stay there until just about to serve.
4. To poach eggs, I have this little egg poacher that you just crack the eggs into, and then drop into the pan – you think it sounds easy, but they only work out half the time. If anyone knows of a different contraption i can use to poach multiple eggs at a time, please share!! If you’re only cooking for one or two, i suggest poaching eggs the old fashioned way (i can still only do one at a time, so i keep them in a bowl of warm water while the other ones cook).
-once your water is simmering (not boiling! this is important), drop a splash of vinegar into the water (the vinegar helps hold the whites together – more food science!)
-use a spoon and stir the water to create a little whirlpool
-drop the egg in the middle of the whirlpool, the whites will swirl around the egg, you can help it a bit if it needs to and cook for about 3-4 minutes if your eggs are coming straight from the fridge
-scoop out with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl with warm water
5. Make hollandaise while eggs are cooking. Put all ingredients into a magic bullet or blender and pulse until well combined. Melt butter in the microwave. Remove butter and scoop off the white foam that appears on the top. This is a a really lazy verion of clarified butter. Taking off the foam keeps the sauce silky.
6. Now, it’s ideal to use a blender for this, so you can be stiring the ingredients while pouring the butter in very slowly – this is how to properly emulsify something. You want the butter and egg yolks to fully incorporate, but you don’t want the egg yolks to scramble. I only have a magic bullet, so I poured a little bit of butter in, then pulsed until it was combined, until all incoporated. You have to be super fast at getting the lid back on and getting it mixing after each round, if not, your emulsification will break and you’ll be left with either really runny, or curdled sauce. Add in the fresh chopped dill and stir gently with a spoon.
7. Remove asparagus from oven and place on plate – top with two poached eggs, and pour hollandaise over eggs.

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i served mine with these potatoes because potatoes dunked in this sauce is basically heaven, but a salad would probably be the smarter way to go.

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