Sunday, May 11, 2014

Easy Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict on Toasted Croissant

I got woken up early this morning by the kids wishing me "Happy Mother's Day" while I was still half asleep in bed. They were already up before 7am and couldn't wait to give me their presents and cards. Give it a couple more years and I'd have them well-trained to make me breakfast in bed. For now, Mr TFWL (aka Mr G) is only too happy to make one of our favourite breakfasts - Eggs Benedict. Not just any ordinary Eggs Benedict, but one served on top of a freshly baked croissant. Lucky for us, there is a bakery down the road which sells delicious breads and pastries, including these flaky buttery croissants.
It's always such a treat to have Eggs Benedict for breakfast, with the perfectly poached eggs and creamy hollandaise sauce. Traditionally (or usually), they are served on top of an English muffin, or sometimes wood-fired bread. We discovered the most awesome Eggs Benedict at Bondi Beach many years ago (before we had kids), at this place called Lamrock Café. The last time we were there, it wasn't on the menu anymore, and we never came across any cafes in Sydney serving them on croissant either.

We realised making Eggs Benedict wasn't as difficult as we thought. We found a simple recipe for Hollandaise sauce that uses only egg yolks, lemon juice and butter, and it's not much harder than making custard. Try it out, and you'll probably never order Eggs Ben again when dining out. Not only is it cheaper, but it's tastier than some of the ones you get outside. No kidding. Don't forget, the way to making the best Eggs Benedict ever is to serve it on a toasted croissant. That way, you get the sweetness from the croissant, creaminess from the eggs, tang from the hollandaise and saltiness from the smoked salmon. What a perfect combination. Happy Mother's Day!

Easy Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict on Toasted Croissant Recipe
Serves 4


8 free-range eggs
Vinegar (for poaching eggs)
200g (7oz) smoked salmon
4 good-quality croissants, split in half ("butterflied") lengthways, toasted

Hollandaise sauce (adapted from:
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp water
175g (6oz) salted butter at room temperature, cubed
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper


First, prepare the hollandaise sauce. Don't be intimidated by the lengthy instructions!
  1. Fill a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water and bring to boil. Lower heat until it is barely simmering. This is important while making the sauce - if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  2. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons water in a heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Use a wire balloon whisk (I used a handheld electric whisk) to whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  3. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely. (It should take about 10 minutes to add it all.) If butter is added too quickly, it won't mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn't take too long to be incorporated - if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  4. The sauce will begin to thin when you start adding the butter. However, once the emulsion is established (after about the third cube), it will begin to thicken again. It will continue to thicken as the remaining butter is added. If the sauce curdles or separates it can be saved as long as it isn't grainy and the eggs haven't set.
  5. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Set aside and prepare the poached eggs next.
Poached Eggs:

Please see here for recipe. In the meantime, prepare the toasted croissants and arrange them cut-side up, on individual serving plates.

To assemble:

Place a few slices of smoked salmon on each croissant. Carefully slide two poached eggs over the salmon. Stir the hollandaise sauce once and spoon some over the eggs. Sprinkle over with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately. Repeat with the other croissants. Enjoy!