My favorite sandwich is the Monte Cristo, a roasted ham and turkey with Swiss and processed cheese fried in a milk egg batter. As you may of noticed I have an obsession with eggs Benedict, so why not bring the two together? Let us start with a base of French toast, top it with roasted ham, turkey, Swiss and processed cheese. Then add a perfectly poached egg and cover with a drizzle of strawberry jam thinned into a sauce. Maybe you can add bacon if you want to. I think this creation successfully brings two of my favorites together into one great tasting dish.
2 slices day old bread (traditional is challah bread but any firm white bread will do)
1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup half and half
4 slices honey ham
4 slices roasted turkey
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices American cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sugar
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Mix 1 egg, vanilla, sugar and the half and half in a shallow dish to form a custard. Soak both sides of the bread in the custard.
2. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the butter. When the butter starts to foam add the bread and cook both sides to golden brown. Keep warm.
3. Poach the remaining 2 eggs and keep warm. In a small sauce pan heat the jam and thin to a sauce-like consistency.
4. Build the Benedict starting with the French toast. Stack a slice of Swiss cheese, ham, turkey then a slice of American cheese. Add a poached egg then drizzle with the strawberry sauce and finish by dusting with some powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
One of the most important aspects of Inspiration are ingredients; especially when an ingredient is in season and at its peak. Pick up and smell a tomato when it is ripe and at its peak or almost any other seasonal ingredient and let the fragrance, appearance and taste give you inspiration. Currently here on the coast it is Dungeness crab season and my neighbor gave me some of his extras. My initial thought was to make crab cakes and then inspiration led me to create a benedict that showcases the northwest. The base has to be that great northwest bread, sourdough; then a great lump crab cake, a poached egg and some sort of a sauce. To make things simple I decided to make a simple sauce, mayo, lemon juice and avocado; both that go great with crab.
1 pound fresh cooked lump Dungeness Crab meat
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cranberry mustard (or substitute Dijon)
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 large egg
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. butter
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ripe avocado
4 large eggs
4 slices sourdough bread
Mix the wet ingredients together then gently fold in the crab then the bread crumbs. Divide into four equal portions and form into cakes. I like to use a ring mold. Melt the butter in a medium heat skillet and fry until crispy on one side, then gently flip and brown the second side. Keep warm.
Mix ½ cup of mayonnaise with the juice of ½ lemon then mash in one half of a ripe avocado. Whip until smooth. Poach the eggs until the desired doneness and reserve warm.
Toast the bread and butter. Place the bread on a plate and add a crab cake on top. Place a poached egg on top, season with salt and pepper and top with the avocado mayonnaise mixture. Repeat for the three remaining benedict and serve immediately. Serves four.
I love to create new and innovative benedicts; using something interesting for the base followed by a complementary piece of meat or vegetable, topped with a lovely poached egg and a sauce to tie everything together. Using Thanksgiving as my inspiration, I thought to use leftover dressing for the base, pressing it into a ring mold and browning it in sauté pan. Next I think a nice piece of turkey would be perfect next level. We could use a circle cutter to make it look a bit more professional or leave the pieces as is for a more rustic presentation. Then the prerequisite poached egg done to your favorite doneness; I like mine with the white firm and a runny yolk. For the sauce, I could use turkey gravy or if cranberries are your thing, top with cranberry sauce. Maybe next year I will work on a cranberry-hollandaise sauce to bring something new to the traditional. This benedict is the perfect brunch dish for your Thanksgiving weekend and is so easy to make.
Option: To work properly your stuffing should be moist and be able to be compacted into the form. If you don't want to make this dish with leftover stuffing why not use the Stuffin Muffin recipe and use a egg ring instead of a muffin pan to create a form similar to an English muffin. You just have to trim off the top to make it flat.
2 slices of turkey
2 cups of moist turkey stuffing or dressing
2 poached eggs
turkey gravy or cranberry sauce
1. Using greased round egg molds, divide stuffing and press to fill. Heat a skillet on medium heat, add butter and the stuffing in the molds. Brown on one side, unmold and brown on second side. Reserve until needed.
2. Using a circle cutter the same size as the egg mold, cut the turkey slices into rounds or if you prefer a more rustic look use a slice. Warm and place on the stuffing rounds.
3. Poach two eggs and add on top of turkey
4. Finish with warmed gravy or cranberry sauce. (you could also add the cranberry sauce to hollandaise for a fancier offering)
What pleases dad more then steak and eggs? Make it as a Benedict and it adds a touch of class. With Father's Day upon us, I want to approximate the classic steakhouse for breakfast. Filling in for the traditional English muffin, I want to substitute garlic toast, the Canadian bacon with a tenderloin filet, and filling in for the Hollandaise, the classic steakhouse favorite sauce, Béarnaise. If dad is vegetarian, no problem, just substitute a grilled portobello mushroom for the filet or if mushrooms are not your thing, try your favorite grilled vegetable. Dad deserves the best and this goes a long way to say that he is special.
One 2 inch thick beef tenderloin
2 large eggs
2 3 inch rounds of bread
Salt and Pepper to season
3 Tbsp Butter
Béarnaise Sauce (recipe follows)
Cut tenderloin into 2 one inch pieces and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, add butter and sear to color each side. Lower the heat to low, then finish cooking the tenderloin to the desired doneness, basting with the butter. Keep warm. Toast bread and rub with garlic clove and reserve.
Poach two eggs and keep warm until assembly. Place toast on plate and top with tenderloin, then poached egg and top with Béarnaise sauce.
1 tsp. finely chopped shallot
¾ tsp. dried tarragon
½ cup white wine vinegar
5 crushed peppercorns
2 egg yolks
1 cup warm clarified butter
Pinch cayenne pepper
Add shallot, tarragon, vinegar and peppercorns to sauce pan on medium heat and reduce to 2/3 then cool.
Warm water to a simmer in a saucepan then reduce heat to low. In a metal bowl, wisk egg yolks and vinegar mixture together over the hot water until the mixture lightens in color and starts to thicken. Wisk warm clarified butter slowly a few drop at a time into the yolk mixture letting it fully incorporate before adding more. After wisking all the butter wisk in the cayanne pepper, taste and correct the seasoning. If the mixture is too thick wisk in warm water a bit at a time until the right consistency is reached. Strain and reserve warm.
Earlier this month was Mother's Day and I fixed traditional Eggs Benedict for our monthly church breakfast. I love poached eggs and when you serve them on a crispy English muffin with grilled Canadian bacon covered with rich hollandaise sauce, there is a special dish. I want to add an example showcasing the first Translation technique, substitution. I have seen variations on Southern Benedicts at various restaurants, but here is my version. Examining the purely Southern theme, the English muffin can be replaced with a airy southern style biscuit (see Basics for recipe) and continuing with the theme, biscuits traditionally go with a country white milk gravy along with the prerequisite country fried steak. I prefer a more refined presentation so I like to use a circle cutter a little bit bigger then the one I use for biscuits to cut out perfect circles for my chicken fried steak. After breading and frying they will shrink a little and match the size of the biscuits. I can dice the rest of the meat, bread it and use it to make a complementary home fry side.
Southern Style Eggs Benedict
2 biscuits split in half. (See Basics)
4 poached eggs (See Basics)
Chicken Fried Steak (See Below)
Country Style Spicy Gravy (See Below)
Split the biscuits in half and place on plate. Top with chicken fried steak, then a poached egg. Ladle gravy over top and serve immediately. Serves four with one egg each or two hungry people with two eggs each. The remaining beef can be used to make a special home fries dish.
Chicken Fried Steak
1 pound beef (bottom round)
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tenderize beef using a jacard or pounding with a meat tenderizer to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a ring cutter, cut a circular piece of steak slightly bigger than the diameter of the biscuit being used. The remainder can be used in an other application. In two small shallow dishes, add the flour to one and beat an egg in the other. Season both sides with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour fist, shaking off any excess. Next dip in the beaten egg then dredge in the flour again. Let rest on a wire rack. Heat the oil in a medium skillet, then fry each piece in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Reserve warm until needed.
Country Style Spicy Gravy
2 pounds good quality pork sausage
1 large sweet onion finely diced
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. dried thyme or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Hot sauce to taste
2 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is hot, skin and break up the sausage into small pieces, season with salt and cook until brown and most of the fat has rendered out into the pan. Remove the sausage and reserve retaining the fat in the pan. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent. Add the thyme and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the onions just start to brown. Whisk in the flour and stir until fully mixed. This is in fact a roux. I need to continue to stir until the raw flour taste is gone which should take a minute. Continue to whisk and slowly add the milk. I now will increase the heat to medium high, stirring frequently, then when the mixture begins to boil I reduce the heat to low. Now is the time to season with salt and pepper to taste, and to add the hot sauce to achieve the heat you want. Keep warm until needed.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.