I’m a serial food menu planner and waste copious amounts of time writing out my weekly meal plans only to change them again, and again, and again. Eggs Benedict from Justine Pattison has been on my list since lockdown, but it kept getting bumped due to me having a lack of confidence in myself to pull it off. That, and also because I get in a proper flap in the kitchen when more than one pan is on the go.
There’s a lot going on with this recipe, your kitchen will resemble a bombsite afterwards, and it does require some TLC to ensure the eggs don’t scramble and nothing sticks to the pan. But…. give it a try, I was delighted with the end result and the low-cal hollandaise sauce was gorgeous! This is a perfect Sunday brunch dish and a real treat!
I haven’t had eggs benedict since being dragged into a phone booth style café when sight-seeing in Covent Garden ten years ago. Two portions set me back about £20 and I’m guessing the calorie count was significantly higher than the 320 per serving in Justine’s slimming friendly version, which only costs about £2.45 per portion in comparison!
Recipe: Eggs Benedict
Calories: 320 per serving
Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Comfort Food
Prep time: Approx 15 mins
Cooking time: Approx 10 mins
- 4 fridge-cold eggs
- 2 English muffins (sliced in half)
- 4 slices of lean smoked ham (about 120g)
- Snipped fresh chives to serve (optional)
For the lower-fat Hollandaise:
- 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small bay leaf
- 4 peppercorns
- ½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra to taste
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 15g cornflour
- 20g butter
- 3 large egg yolks
- Ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £2.45
To make the hollandaise, put the vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt in a small non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Boil until the liquid has reduced to just 2 tablespoons. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour to form a smooth paste. Pour the rest of the milk into a medium non-stick saucepan and add the butter and cornflour mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring continuously until smooth and thick.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl until light and pale and add to the cornflour and milk mixture, stirring continuously. Stir in the vinegar reduction and cook very gently over a low heat for a few seconds, stirring continuously. The sauce should have the consistency of custard. Do not allow the mixture to overheat or the eggs will scramble. Take the pan off the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Half fill a medium pan with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the boiling water to a very gentle simmer. Crack the eggs gently into the water and let them drop to the bottom of the pan. Gently stir the water once and cook the eggs for 3 minutes. The water should be gently bubbling and the eggs will rise to the surface when they are nearly ready. While the eggs are cooking, warm the sauce gently, stirring continuously.
Toast the muffin halves and arrange them on warmed plates or on a platter. Top with a slice of ham and a poached egg (remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon). Spoon over the hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with snipped chives to serve.