Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Very Special Benedict

My boyfriend John, and I love enjoying the Sunday afternoons relaxing with friends, a mimosa and some good brunch eats. This past Sunday when I asked him to text some friends to invite them over for brunch, he informed me that-based on our planned menu-he had invited our friends over for a "Very Special Benedict." I thought that title was very apropos, considering all of the decadence and deliciousness we had planned. You'll see, just wait!
One step at a time, we stacked up all of the ingredients we had prepared into 4 yummy layers: bread, potatoes, egg, mother sauce. This recipe serves 10-12 people.

  • 5 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups smoked cheddar or gouda
  • 1 cup chopped shallots or yellow onions
  • non stick cooking spay
  • Sliced Sourdough bread
  • 15 eggs (12 for poaching/3 for Bearnaise sauce)
  • Dijon Mustard, 1 Tablespoon
  • Lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • chopped tarragon, 5-10 leaves
The first thing we did was create layer two, the scalloped potatoes with smoked cheddar we had brought home from an Amish shop up in Pennsylvania. To make the potatoes we took about 5 large Yukon Gold potatoes and slice them into thin (about 1/4 inch) discs and boiled them in water for around 10-15 minutes; until they began to soften a little (you don't want them super soft though, because they are going to bake in the oven later). After you take potatoes out of the water and drain them in a colander, you can begin making your roux for your creamy cheese sauce and prepare your glass baking dish by lightly greasing it. To create your roux, melt three tablespoons butter on low heat in pot, then add 2 tablespoons flour and combine with whisk. Cook for a couple of minutes to remove flour taste, but make sure to stir continuously so it
doesn't burn. Add 2 cups of warm milk and continue to whisk for couple more minutes. Next, add 1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded cheese and stir just until cheese melts into roux. Take off of heat. In a
small skillet, saute 1 cup chopped shallots or yellow onions in a few tablespoons olive oil, with garlic, salt and pepper, set aside. Lay potatoes in greased dish, top with creamy roux, then sauteed onions, then remaining shredded cheese. Bake in 35o degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

The next step is to create a delicious tarragon Bearnaise sauce in your food processor (this is layer four). Seperate 3 room temperature eggs-throw away whites and place yolks in food processor. Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon. Melt one stick butter in small bowl in microwave. Pulse mustard, yolks, lemon juice, and tarragon in food processor. Open opening on top and slowly add melted butter while pulsing blades, this will create an emulsion that turns all the liquids into your mouth watering sauce!

Now, slice up some good good sourdough bread (I used my homemade version I make using my Step-mom's starter). This is obviously layer one. I even plated it up when I sliced it so it was ready for layer two.

Now to prepare layer three; poached eggs. There is definitely an art to poached eggs, and I am still learning each time I do it. Fill a large skillet with water and add a splash of white vinegar. Use a thermomter to meter your temperature, you want it to stay between 140-150 degrees. Have a small bowl close by to crack eggs one by one into for easy pouring into the hot liquid. Also have a spoon close by to encourage the whites to stay together if necessary. When water is ready, very slowly add egg to water and set timer for 4 minutes. Take out right away. The whites will be glossy and almost look runny, but if you check they will be firm.

To assemble, place bread on plate, serving of potatoes on top, poached egg next, then drizzle a healthy spoonful of Bearnaise sauce on top.

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