What is eggs Benedict?
The many eggs Benedict recipes on the Web are wildly variant. This page's selections must include meat, poultry, or fish, and must require sauce made from scratch (except for the Knauss Dried Beef recipe, which was too strange to omit). Instant hollandaise's inferiority is reviewed below.
If you know of another qualifying online recipe, please submit its URL.
Links to recipes (alphabetical by name of recipe)
According to Wine Cuisine magazine, the wines that best accompany eggs Benedict are Chablis, St-Véran, Sancerre, Brut Champagne, and Brut Rose.
Other eggs Benedict appreciation
Brunch.org. A beautifully designed, well written site obsessing over eggs Benedict and steak au poivre. It reviews restaurant offerings in New York and a few other cities, using a creative scale for judging quality.
Eggs Benedict: the Sumptuous Stack. By Jennifer Anderson. With recipe. From All Recipes.
Eggs Benedict Still Reigns Supreme. With recipe. From the Christian Science Monitor (whose theology is no more healthful than this entrée).
Several of the above recipes include instructions for homemade hollandaise sauce. It is not an easy sauce, for it requires gently indirect heat, a fine balance of egg yolk and butter, and the risk of salmonellosis. But eggs Benedict deserves no less. Instant, powdered hollandaise, such as those reviewed below, can never approximate the real thing.
McCormick. The packet's powder smells of egg and sawdust. The sauce is prepared by blending the powder with half a stick of melted butter, then adding a cup of water, and then stirring it while first raising the temperature to a boil, then lowering it to a simmer, till thickened. It turns a dark yellow after cooking.
The egg (solids) and the lemon (juice solids) in the mix could both be tasted. But before the two listed egg ingredients are wheat starch and maltodextrin. The latter is a bland "bulking aid" used to increase the volume of dry food mixes. It is a powder with a high surface area for adsorbing oils and fats. You taste the egg and lemon through those two main ingredients of this gelatinous sauce, which clumps badly upon cooling. The tangy lemon flavor is only an aftertaste, and appears simultaneously with the usual graininess of any instant sauce that thins upon the tongue.
McCormick ingredients: Wheat starch, maltodextrin, egg yolk solids, whole egg solids, autolyzed yeast extract, salt, onion, mustard flour, soy lethicin, citric acid, white pepper, paprika, tumeric, lemon juice solids, and natural flavors.
Knorr. Open the packet and you will find that the powder is not even yellow, but peach. Upon cooking it turns a bright orange. The powder smells like artificially flavored bullion, not of egg or lemon. No wonder, for there is no egg or lemon in the mix, which comprises mostly starch, flours, and dried milk. The sauce is prepared by blending the powder with half a stick of melted butter, then adding a cup of more milk, and then stirring it while raising the temperature first to a boil, then lowering to a simmer, till thickened.
Knorr hollandaise was much more strongly flavored than McCormick, tasting richer and fattier. But the taste was of milk, not of egg or lemon. Despite the mix's lack of egg, it better approximates the color and viscosity of a yolk-rich sauce made from scratch. It even coagulates less lumpily when cooling than McCormick. But the lack of egg sacrifices taste for texture, and the package's suggestion that "if desired," you may "stir in 1 tsp lemon juice before serving," is ludicrous. Lemon is vital to hollandaise. So agrees the package, which claims that Knorr hollandaise is "rich with the flavors of butter and lemon" though it will only be as rich in either as the amount you add yourself.
Knorr ingredients: Modified food starch, wheat flour, nonfat dry milk, hydrolized wheat protein, partially hydrogenated peanut oil, maltodextrin, lactose, salt, fructose, onion and garlic powder, citric acid, yeast extract, beta carotene (color), vegetable gum, natural flavor, paprika, spice, dextrose.