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Cajun Eggs Benedict Recipe

What’s better for a weekend breakfast than something delicious and decadent?  Nothing that I can think of which is why I developed this Cajun Eggs Benedict recipe.  It’s a south Louisiana take on the classic dish.

I need to start by saying this recipe is ambitious.   Not overly ambitious, but you need to know what you’re getting into before you start.  It sure does seem easy enough – brown some ham, poach eggs, make Hollandaise, toast bread – done.  Well it IS that easy except that you have to time it well for your dish to be of the highest quality  Truthfully, the only part I really had trouble with was the egg poaching.  So let’s go through it all and see what’s what, and I’ll share with you what I’ve learned along the way.

Cajun Eggs Benedict Recipe

First let’s get to why this recipe is Cajun.  There are three reasons, actually.  The first is that instead of using an English muffin as the base, we’re using slices of French bread. Secondly, I’ve made a version of Hollandaise that’s flavored with Cajun spices.  Lastly, I’m Cajun so that’s gotta count for something!

Now on to the parts of this recipe and some background info on each.  First let’s discuss that Cajun Hollandaise.  Hollandaise is one of the five classic mother sauces from which numerous other sauces originate. Béarnaise, Choron, Maltaise and Foyot are some of the most common derivatives.  They start with the basic Hollandaise preparation and are all flavored differently with key ingredients such as tarragon, tomato, blood orange and glace de viande (meat glaze).

While I have used the basic method for creating a Hollandaise sauce, I’ve created a modified version of the classic sauce by replacing the au sec vinegar and peppercorns with lemon juice and by using my Cajun spices.  Lemon as the only acid is actually a fairly common substitution.  I really do find the lemon juice and zest combo provides a fantastic flavor base.

The amount of butter and egg yolk in this sauce may seem staggering, but it’s so delicious. Definitely not something for the faint of heart.  Also, you might have a fair amount of Hollandaise left over if you’re shy with it.  Hollandaise will not keep more than a couple of hours.  It’s only a temporary emulsion that will break once it reaches a certain temperature. So eat it up!

On to the egg poaching, which is the other technical part of this dish.  My recommendation is that you are better off poaching in a liquid hotter than 180 ºF as officially suggested by all major textbooks and reference materials.  Something closer to 200 ºF will produce a much better and more cohesive egg.  If the temperature is too low, the egg white will just produce long thin ribbons, and the yolk will separate.  It’s ugly business.

Also, use the freshest possible eggs. Buy them that morning at the grocery or pick them up from your hen’s nest or whatever you do!  Fresh eggs poach best since the albumen (white) is thickest when the egg is fresh.  I’ve read conflicting things about the temperature of the egg.  Some say start at room temperature, some say start with the eggs very cold. In the end, I don’t think it matters much. To me, the top factors influencing how well your poached eggs will come out are the water temperature, addition of salt and acid (vinegar) and egg freshness.

Some final preparation thoughts… I highly suggest you read through this entire recipe before starting on any prep work.  Also, it is imperative to have all of your ingredients prepped before starting any of the cooking work.  You will need to give your attention to the sauce and the eggs as you’re cooking each.  I recommend browning the ham and toasting the French bread before starting on the sauce and eggs.  The more attention you can give your Hollandaise and poached eggs, the better they will come out.

Also, set your water to simmer for the eggs as you start the Hollandaise.  That’s what I did, and how I got a 30 minute prep time. If you wait to start heating your water for poaching until after the sauce is done, you may add 10 minutes or more to your prep time.  Use an insta-read thermometer to monitor your poaching water temperature.

Cajun Eggs Benedict Recipe

Without further ado, the recipe…

Yield: 2 servings

Cajun Eggs Benedict Recipe

This Eggs Benedict recipe includes a Cajun twist by using French bread as the base and special spices in the hollandaise sauce. A truly decadent breakfast.

Ingredients:

Eggs Benedict Ingredients:

  • 2-3″ pieces of French bread, split in half (or 2 English muffins) – very lightly toasted
  • 4 thin slices of ham – lightly browned in a skillet
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 recipe of Cajun hollandaise (recipe below)
  • 4 poached eggs (recipe below)

Cajun Hollandaise Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons mixed lemon juice + zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Poached Eggs Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs

Method:

Start recipe by preparing the French bread, ham and green onions. Then move into the hollandaise and poached eggs.

Cajun Hollandaise:

  1. In a small-ish pot over low heat, bring 2″ of water to a bare simmer.  Place a metal bowl over this pot to form a bain-marie.  This is how you’ll heat the yolks and keep the sauce warm.  Be very careful on the flame heat. Once you cover that pot with the bowl, the water temperature will rise so make sure the flame is very low.
  2. Add the yolks and ONE of the tablespoons of lemon juice/zest to the bowl of the bain-marie and whisk constantly until mixture is thickened and ribbons form when you pull this whisk away from the bowl (should take about 4-5 minutes). The yolks should double to triple in volume.
  3. Slowly whisk in the melted butter, stirring constantly.  If you find the mixture too thick, thin with a tiny bit of room temperature water.  I’d do a teaspoon at a time. I didn’t use any, but tastes vary.
  4. Once the butter is fully incorporated, stir in the second tablespoon of lemon juice and the Cajun Spice mix.  Hold over the bain marie (with flame turned off) until ready to plate up the dish.  I suggest getting this done before you poach the eggs.  The sauce will hold while you poach eggs.  Stir a few times while poaching to keep the temperature even.
  5. Yield: 1 cup Cajun Hollandaise

Poached Eggs Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat water, salt, and vinegar to about 200 ºF.  The water should be simmering with active bubbles but not at a rolling boil.  Gentle bubbles.
  2. Carefully (very carefully) slide an egg into the water.  It’s best if you crack the egg into a small dish first.  Poach only one to two eggs at at time so the temperature of the water doesn’t drop too suddenly.
  3. Allow the eggs to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or so.  The whites will look pretty stringy at first. Be patient. They get a better after they’re in there for a while.
  4. Remember, use the freshest eggs possible.  Old egg whites are thinner and will cause more spread and ribbon in your poached egg.

Assembling Final Dish:

  1. Place two halves of French bread on a plate
  2. Top with a slice of ham on each piece of bread.
  3. Carefully place a poached egg on top of each piece of bread.
  4. Top that generously with Hollandaise.
  5. Finish with green onion slices.
  6. Devour!

Prep:30 min

Cook:20 min

Total:50 min

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