Some foods fall naturally into the categories of both breakfast and brunch: pancakes and waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon. But along with Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, eggs Benedict tends to be reserved for the more leisurely and weekend-oriented brunch, maybe because it’s so luxurious, and also since it seems so labor-intensive to prepare. But while it may never be a Monday morning kind of meal, it’s not too intimidating to make at home, even for a crowd. These brilliantly simple techniques will make pulling it off even easier.
Poach Eggs in a Muffin Tin
One of the two most intimidating parts of eggs Benedict is right there in the name: the eggs, so let’s start with them. They should be perfectly poached, with firm yet tender whites and wonderfully runny yolks. There are tons of tips and tricks out there for making poached eggs in a pot (swirl the water; add a little vinegar; strain the raw eggs through a mesh sieve; slide them in just so; and so on), but this one takes all the guess work out of the equation, and allows you to cook a big batch at once:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out your muffin pan.
2. Pour a tablespoon of water into each cup in the muffin tin (or as many as you plan to use), then crack an egg into each one. Your first time around, it’s a good idea to make one or two extra (think of them as your sacrificial eggs) so you can check for proper degree of doneness!
3. Place the pan in the oven for anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. You’ll want to check after eight, and then roughly each minute after that, until the eggs are done; they should jiggle a little when you shake the pan, but look pretty opaque around the edges and on top—beware that some of the water may have risen to cover the top of the egg, which can make it look underdone, even though it’s not actually raw anymore; this is where your extra eggs can come in handy. Also note that they’ll continue to cook in the pan for another minute after you remove them—so maybe err on the side of slightly under.
4. Run a metal spoon around the edges of each cup to loosen the cooked eggs, then lift them out. Another benefit of this method is that they’re all uniformly sized and shaped to fit perfectly on English muffins! (Which can also be a detriment if you like the charm of irregular eggs, but hey, you can’t have everything.)
Poach Eggs Ahead of Time
Even if you stick with a more conventional cooking technique, you can poach your eggs up to two days ahead of time. If you’re ready to change your entire life, just be sure to prepare an ice water bath before you get poaching, and slide the eggs into it as soon as they’re cooked, then keep them in the bowl of water, covered in plastic wrap, for up to a day or two (no more than that) in the fridge. When you’re ready to use them, gently rewarm them by placing them in a large bowl filled with hot water—straight from the tap is fine; in fact, actually-boiling water can easily overcook the already poached eggs. They should warm up in a minute or two. Then just blot them dry on a paper towel and serve!
Whip Up An Easy Blender Hollandaise
The other thing that makes many people hesitant to tackle eggs Benedict at home is the hollandaise, a notoriously finicky French sauce that can break (or curdle, rather than emulsifying like you want it to) if you don’t whisk it maniacally—but break out the blender and there’s no need to fear, or exhaust your arm. Our Easy Blender Hollandaise recipe ensures you get buttery, lemony, satiny-smooth sauce with the mere press of a button (okay, a few different buttons), and you can make multiple batches in no time at all.
It adds an extra step, but if you fill your blender pitcher with hot water and let it sit for a minute or two before pouring it out, wiping it dry, and starting the recipe, it helps keep the sauce warm (especially if you have a glass-pitcher blender). If you need to keep it warmer for a little while longer after making it, you can transfer it to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set the bowl in a pan of hot water (making sure beforehand that the water won’t come up over the top of the bowl just in case the plastic wrap leaks). If this warm bath cools before you’re ready to serve brunch, change it out for more hot water, and this should keep your sauce fluid for about an hour. Just whisk it for a second to smooth things out before spooning it over your eggs.
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Toast Muffins En Masse
English muffins are the classic base for eggs Benedict, and there’s no need to mess with tradition (unless you really want to). Since you won’t have to poach and toast each plate’s components to order, just split as many muffins as you’ll need in total and line them up on baking sheets, brush them with melted butter, then toast them all at once. The only caveat is to watch out for hot spots; your oven probably tends to brown things more quickly in certain areas, so it’s a good idea to rotate the pan and shuffle the muffins around to prevent any from crisping too much, while leaving others underdone. When they’re toasted, place whatever other toppings you’re using (cooked bacon, ham, cooked seafood, cooked vegetables) on top and pop it all back in the oven just to warm it through, another minute or two, before adding your poached eggs and hollandaise to each one.
And that’s how to pull off easy eggs Benedict for a crowd—or just a couple, for that matter—without breaking a sauce or a sweat, leaving you plenty of time to sip your mimosa and ease into the day while you’re at it!
Try adapting one of these eggs Benedict recipes to use one or more of the above hacks and maybe you will make it a Monday thing after all…
Ham, hollandaise, English muffins, and poached eggs—because sometimes there’s no sense in messing with perfection. A touch of paprika or chives helps perk up the plate. Get our Classic Eggs Benedict recipe.
Since making poached eggs in a muffin tin and blending up your hollandaise is so easy, why not spend a little time making lemon-chive biscuits and picking through some sweet crab meat to make a super-summery eggs Benedict? Get our Crab Benedict on Lemon-Chive Biscuits recipe.
Speaking of summer, when tomatoes are perfectly ripe, they’re dynamite paired with fresh mozzarella—and you can eat the classic Caprese salad for breakfast by turning it into eggs Benedict, with fresh basil showered on top. In the off season, try it with tomatoes you’ve roasted to intensify their flavor. Get the Caprese Eggs Benedict recipe.
If you’re not a fan of swine, swap it out for smoked salmon in your eggs Benedict, for an especially luscious bite. Get our Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict recipe.
Heartier appetites will be satisfied by this meaty steak and eggs Benedict; the addition of tarragon, white wine, and shallots to the sauce is what makes it béarnaise, but it’s still finished in a blender. You can stick to hollandaise if you want a bit less work, but consider stirring some fresh chopped tarragon into it for a little flavor boost at the end. Get our Steak and Eggs Benedict with Béarnaise Sauce recipe.
Put a Mexican spin on brunch by adding sliced avocado and sauteed onions and chorizo to the classic Benedict formula. Cilantro and cayenne spice up the hollandaise, which is also made with lime instead of lemon for a change. For a paleo take, swap sweet potato slices in for the muffins, or if you’re just looking for another tasty twist, try masa cakes or sweet corn cakes as the base instead of English muffins. Get the Mexican Eggs Benedict recipe.
Of course, there’s always another way. If poaching eggs in the oven and assembling individual plates still sounds like too much work for you, go the breakfast casserole route (you can even prep it the night before), and top it off with whizz-bang blender hollandaise sauce in the morning. Get the Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole recipe.
Related Video: How to Poach Eggs in a Muffin Tin
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