By Wendy Monro
For fifteen years, I have kept Claud's hollandaise recipe a mystery. It wasn't that I didn't want other people to know how to make it. I didn't want to know how to make it myself. I cook pretty much everything this family eats except for eggs Benedict. Eggs Benedict is our special meal for my birthday and for Mother's Day. I never watch him cook it. On those special occasions, I just waited to be served.
This past weekend was a crazy one for us. We had tons of family arrive for my cousin's wedding. Alyssa was married on Friday night at The Mandalay Bay Hotel. It was such a beautiful wedding. We were so happy to see family. Most of them flew in from Colorado. My parents came in from California. We had the best time showing everyone around and going to the wedding on Friday. My cousin looked amazing. The spinach dip at the wedding was out of this world. I think I started just eating it with a spoon like it was a casserole or something. I couldn't stop.
Hollandaise sauce tops the English muffins that have been toasted and layered with Canadian bacon and poached eggs. A side of asparagus accompanies the Eggs Benedict.
We also welcomed some of our dear Minnesota friends, Sadi and Jed Hunstad to Fabulous Las Vegas. We took them to Freemont Street where we found the absolute best pizza place. We danced to a classic rock band one night. Then, we partied like rock stars at a club called Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel. We didn't go home until the next morning. I am not used to that. It was so much fun and I survived it all just fine. I guess I'm not that old after all.
Thursday through Saturday was pretty much a blur. I remember drinking lots of wine, dancing on several occasions, and eating more than I should have. By the time Sunday rolled around and all of our friends and family were gone, Claud and I woke up and realized it was Easter. Shoot! We hadn't planned anything. Obviously, all I was concerned with was what we would eat. So, I told Claud I was ready to learn how to make his amazing eggs Benedict. I didn't think I could get away with having him do it all himself. We were both exhausted at this point. He agreed to teach me if I was willing to help. Deal!
I ran to the store and bought everything we were missing: more eggs, butter, lemons, Canadian bacon, and English muffins. We were missing almost everything necessary to make it. By the time we started cooking, I realized that I had to leave in an hour to take Daphne to her band rehearsal. Claud said, "Don't worry. This only takes about twenty minutes." What? I thought this took at least an hour and that it was incredibly complicated. I had really exaggerated how difficult this dish is to make.
Time: 25 minutes
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
4 sticks butter, melted to liquid but not separated
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 English muffins
2 tablespoons orange juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
8 pieces Canadian bacon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Use a double boiler or make your own with a pot of boiling water and a bowl to place on top. Lower the temperature until you have a gentle rolling boil. Whisk together the egg yolks and mustard and lemon juice. Place the bowl into the hot water and keep whisking. Slowly add the melted butter and keep whisking vigorously. Sometimes you have to remove the bowl from the heat if the butter tries to separate. Keep adding the butter slowly until all of it is whisked in and the hollandaise is creamy. Boil water in another pot. Add vinegar. Slowly ladle in the eggs to poach them for about four minutes. You want the egg yolk to stay runny. Toast the English muffins. Add orange juice, salt and pepper to the hollandaise sauce and whisk. Place the Canadian bacon on the English muffin. Place the poached eggs on top. Pour on the hollandaise. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.
It's just so amazingly delicious. I seriously cannot eat eggs Benedict anywhere else because it never tastes nearly as good as Claud's. I know, you are thinking I am just biased because he is my husband. But, people would travel from long distances and cancel important plans to eat his eggs Benedict (Kathy Grothem). Okay, Kathy didn't have to travel that far; but, she knows what I am talking about. My entire family loves this dish. That doesn't happen very often.
My mom called as I was buying everything at the store. I told her what I was doing. She was so upset because she just left yesterday. She couldn't believe she was missing this meal. She told me she couldn't eat eggs Benedict anywhere else anymore either. I apologized and told her it was a last minute decision. One of the reasons I only usually eat this dish twice a year is because it calls for so much butter and lots of egg yolks. It just wouldn't be a good idea to eat this very often. We used four sticks of butter in the sauce. That's crazy! I recently ran across a recipe for hollandaise, which doesn't include any butter or eggs. I just can't get myself to try it. One day I might but I know it can't taste anything like this. I was surprised to see how easy Claud's hollandaise was to make. Why did I think it would be so hard?
When we first sat down, Jack said, "Did you only make two each?" I loved his enthusiasm. He ended up leaving some of the two on his plate. It is so rich and buttery. People rarely eat seconds. We served it with asparagus and ate outside in the beautiful sunshine. The whole thing felt very festive. Easter was a success.