Do Try This At Home is a column by celebrated local chef Ned Bell. Each month, Ned provides us with a delicious recipe using the best of what’s local, sustainable, and in season.
February is the month of love, and what better way to delight your special person than with a sumptuous brunch that celebrates the bounty of BC?
This decadent and drool-worthy Benny showcases wild BC side-stripe shrimp from the coasts of BC, plus BC eggs and BC dairy products. Whether you’re planning an intimate breakfast in bed or are creating a lavish morning feast to share, this recipe adds a touch of luxury to your Valentine’s Day celebration. Pair with a chilled glass of BC bubbles to toast your love.
What makes this recipe even more special is the commitment to supporting local producers and farmers. Embrace the buy-loca movement by incorporating fresh, BC-sourced ingredients into your meal, championing sustainability and community connections.
Brown butter hollandaise
- 1 pound butter
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon Vancouver Island Sea Salt
- 6 BC egg yolks (separate yolks from whites, and save whites for another use)
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
- 2 beaten eggs
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup BC dairy blue cheese
Shrimp and eggs Benedict
- 1 cup BC shrimp (for 2 people)
- 4 eggs (for poaching)
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Start by melting the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it bubbles, “clarifying” it by skimming the foamy bits off the top with a ladle or large spoon. Make sure you don’t remove too much of the golden butter as you go, as that’s what you want to make the hollandaise with.
- Once most of the foamy milk solids are removed, you are left with clarified butter. But to make brown butter, you need to simmer it for another five to seven minutes, until the butter deepens in colour slightly—which will also give it a wonderful nutty flavour.
- In a small pot, combine the vinegar, white wine, shallot, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt, and simmer together for 10 minutes until reduced by three quarters.
- Strain off the liquid and discard the solids. Set the liquid aside.
- Over a double boiler (or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water), whisk the egg yolks for one minute, then add two tablespoons of the white wine reduction.
- Whisk together, and then start adding the clarified butter slowly, one ladle at a time, until it is all incorporated. Be careful to control how hot the mixture gets; don’t let it boil or the hollandaise will overcook. A slow and steady process over medium heat gives the best result.
- Once the butter is fully incorporated, add another two tablespoons of the white wine reduction. Taste and season accordingly, adding a touch of salt and maybe a dash of Tabasco if you like it a little spicy.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, two tablespoons of sugar, the baking powder, and the salt.
- Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs.
- Mix the cream and eggs together, then add the blue cheese.
- Incorporate the cream mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a cutting board. Shape it into a one-inch-thick round, then cut into eight wedges or rounds.
- Put the scones onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with milk.
- Put in the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.
- Defrost the shrimp under cold, running water. They will more than likely come with the shell on.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and add the shrimp, stirring around for one minute maximum. You do not want to overcook the shrimp, as they’re delicate and best when barely cooked.
- Strain the water off and immediately cool the shrimp in ice water.
- Once the shrimp are cool, peel them carefully and set aside.
- For the poached eggs, add water to a small pot and bring it to a simmer. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar.
- When the water is gently boiling, crack the eggs into separate small bowls, and one at a time, slip the eggs in the water and cook for two minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and set on a plate with a paper towel to drain the excess water.
- Working quickly to make sure the food is served hot to your loved one, place the scones on the plate, and cut them in half to serve open-faced.
- Top the scone halves with shrimp, the eggs, and as much brown butter hollandaise as you want—the more the better!
- Garnish with the sumac to add a citrusy finish.
- Pair with a beautiful bottle of chilled BC sparkling wine, and serve to your loved one in bed.