With the first day of spring upon us (March 20), it’s the perfect weekend to have brunch.
Here’s a twist on the classic eggs Benedict, courtesy of chef Dale MacKay and the Egg Farmers of Canada.
In this version, poached eggs are perched atop spinach grass, all nestled into puff pastry baskets. Speaking of which, did anyone see which way the Easter bunny went?
Puff Pastry Eggs Benedict
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Puff Pastry Basket
two 8 x 10 inch (20 x 25 cm) sheets of puff pastry
Lay down fridge-cold puff pastry on a cutting board. Cut the puff pastry into four oval shapes using an oval shaped cutter. Using a knife, cut just the center out of two of the ovals, leaving a ½ inch (1.3 centimetres) border. Next, cut two ½ inch (1.3 centimetres) strips of pastry lengthwise down your sheet. In a bowl, crack the egg and add 1 tbsp of water and mix well.
Using a brush, brush egg over full ovals, then lay the cut-out ovals on top making sure the edges line up. Brush the border well with egg wash. Egg wash both sides of your ½ inch (1.3 centimetres) strips. Carefully twist the strip as you place it onto your border all the way around until it reconnects on the other side. Brush with egg wash one more time.
Place the puff pastry baskets on a parchment-lined tray. Bake in a preheated convection oven at 375°F (190°C) for 20 to 22 minutes, until dark golden brown. Allow to cool after cooking.
⅓ cup (75 millilitres) white wine
⅓ cup (75 millilitres) white wine vinegar
¼ cup (60 millilitres) thinly sliced shallots
10 black peppercorns
10 coriander seeds
Place all reduction ingredients into a small pot on medium-high heat and reduce by 80 percent. Strain and let cool until it’s time to make the sauce.
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoon (30 millilitres) hollandaise reduction
¾ cup (175 mL) clarified butter
a pinch of salt
Add egg yolks and reduction into a medium size glass or stainless steel bowl over a simmering pot of water that is only half full so that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk nonstop until mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.
Once egg mix is thick, take off the heat and start to whisk slowly in clarified butter so that it does not split. Whisk in all butter and a pinch of salt. If you are not using the sauce right away, cover it and place in a warm area to hold.
½ cup (125 millilitres) bacon, cut into ¼ inch (0.6 centimetres) pieces
¼ cup (60 millilitres) shallots, diced
2 cups (500 millilitres) spinach
4 soft poached eggs
¼ cup (60 millilitres) spinach, cut into matchsticks
In a large frying pan on medium heat cook bacon. Once the bacon is slightly crispy, add shallots and cook for 1 minute.
Add spinach and toss until it’s all broken down. Remove from the pan and split it into the bottom of the pastry baskets.
To poach eggs, fill a saucepan with about 3 inches (8 centimetres) of water. Add a splash of vinegar. Heat the water until it gently simmers then break a cold egg into a small dish. Holding the dish just above the simmering water, gently slip the egg into the water. Repeat this step for remaining eggs. Cook the eggs in the simmering water until whites are set and yolks are cooked as desired, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain.
Next place two hot, soft poached eggs on top of the spinach mix in each basket, add hollandaise on top of your eggs.
Place cut raw spinach around the eggs and in the cracks to make it look like grass. Serve right away. If you have extra hollandaise serve on the side if desired.