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Old 02-06-2005, 03:54 AM
 
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Default Eggs Benedict with Lambic (beer) Cheese Sauce

Eggs Benedict with Lambic (beer) Cheese Sauce

From Cincinnati Post


Eggs Benedict are unpredictable
By Joyce Rosencrans
Post food editor

Eggs Benedict has been called the "sumptuous stack."

What all the Benedict variations have in common is poached eggs. All other
components - the toasted English muffins, the slices of Canadian bacon,
the lemony hollandaise sauce made from scratch - are open to
interpretation, apparently. Just look up the term in cookbooks or on the
Web. As mosaic.echonyc.com puts it: "The many eggs Benedict recipes on the
Web are wildly variant."

This site proceeds to list these and many more variations upon which to
click:

Asparagus Eggs Benedict with a cheesy, broth-based hollandaise.

Canyon Road Eggs Benedict with guacamole mayonnaise sauce instead of
hollandaise.

Dundalk Eggs Benedict with sausage patties, cilantro cream and tortillas.

Easy Eggs Benedict using frozen puff pastry shells instead of English
muffins.

Benedict Croissants with grated Swiss cheese and mustard in the
hollandaise.

A New Orleans version, and a special favorite of mine, is Eggs Sardou,
which adds steamed fresh spinach leaves and perhaps quartered artichoke
hearts to the stack underneath the poached eggs.

Whatever the cook's recipe, eggs Benedict are a rite of spring for brunch
fans.

Before Easter I would've said that an English muffin or similar toasted
bread base is common to all the "stacks."

But, no, that would've been wrong, as the previous croissants and puff
pastry prove.

A holiday noon brunch at a restaurant near Mason brought eggs Benedict on
a base of crabcakes, not English muffins. The twin crabcakes topped with
two poached eggs were silver dollar-size, however, and the toasty bread
and bacon - be it Canadian or some other nationality such as Italian
pancetta - were sorely missed.

What was missing in bread and bacon, the chef tried to make up for with
sauce and plenty of it. The eggs were coated with hollandaise sauce and
the plate had been "painted" with a big "Z" of New Awlins-style remoulade
sauce, sort of a tartar sauce the color of Thousand Island dressing.

It was all luscious, but the dish cried out for a toasted English muffin
on the side. Or any bread at all. A cross-section of a French baguette
brought to the table would have been greeted by cheers.

A common problem with eggs Benedict on restaurant menus is that true
hollandaise sauce (a blender concoction) requires a light hand, watchful
eye and patience - not to mention freshly squeezed lemon juice and real
butter. Many menus call it hollandaise, but the tongue detects a broth
flavor, meaning the sauce arriving at your table was actually a cooked,
starch-thickened sauce - definitely not the delicate emulsion created like
mayonnaise in a blender.

In fact, you can think of hollandaise as a true French mayonnaise with
melted butter standing in for oil and lemon juice substituting for
vinegar.

Along with real hollandaise sauce comes the risk of salmonella food
poisoning, though it be a slight risk. It's a risk restaurants are
supposed to take, but they are serving up the same risk beneath the
so-called hollandaise. Poached eggs, by definition, have runny yolks.
Undercooked eggs equal salmonella risk. So go ahead, ladle on a little
hollandaise if you're feeling lucky (and have a strong immune system).

Very few eggs, perhaps one in 10,000, contain the bacteria that will make
one sick.

Perhaps the recipe variation with the least appeal is Eggs Benedict Redux:
a 318-calorie half-portion version for people with diabetes. It uses
reduced-calorie oat bran bread stacked with smoked salmon and nonfat
yogurt in place of hollandaise. The recipe is from "Cooking With Pam" so
that would explain the missing butter.

A variation I do favor is from Bed & Breakfast Inns online: It calls for
cubed English muffins (toasted first) baked with beaten eggs and grated
cheese in ramekins. This method eliminates the risk of undercooked eggs
with runny yolks and all the knife-and-fork work necessary to cut through
tough English muffins. Even though crisply toasted, an English muffin half
with all the usual moist ingredients stacked on top renders it slightly
tough.

But, then, this baked version in ramekins also eliminates the traditional
delicate nature of true Eggs Benedict.

According to an online investigation, don't even consider instant
hollandaise sauce mix from an envelope. Not one is rated as highly as the
blender recipe. One brand tastes of bouillon; another turns orange;
another tastes milky.

If not attempting real hollandaise sauce, then I favor a delicate cheese
sauce. This one is made with fruit-flavored Lambic beer, a product of
Belgium. I think the raspberry one I once bought at Party Source in
Bellevue, Ky., is best, but there's also a strawberry Lambic and Belgian
beers made with other flavors of spring, according to the National Beer
Wholesalers Association, and the source for this recipe.

Serve the Eggs Benedict with fresh green asparagus spears or cross-cuts
lightly boiled in a skillet (uncovered) until the green vegetable is
crisp-tender. Dress it lightly with melted butter and fresh lemon because
you're missing those flavors in the hollandaise substitute sauce.

Add a fruit cup or a fresh strawberry dessert. Have a centerpiece of
nodding tulips for the complete spring brunch experience.




Eggs Benedict with Lambic (beer) Cheese Sauce

2 (12-oz.) bottles lager beer with berry flavor, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Colby or mild Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons milk
4 multi-grain English muffins, split
8 slices bacon or ham
8 cold large eggs
1 tablespoon chili powder

Yield: 4 servings

Open the beer and let stand at room temperature. In a medium saucepan,
melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour.
Cook, whisking frequently, 3 minutes until the roux is bubbly without
taking on color. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup lager beer until blended. Bring
to a simmer. Cook, continuing to whisk, 2 minutes or until a white sauce
is thickened. Add the cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, and whisk until
melted. Remove from heat; whisk in mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the
milk. Cover and keep sauce warm.

Preheat broiler. To poach the eggs, fill two medium-sized saucepans each
with 2 inches of water and remaining lager beer. Divide the beer equally
between the two pans. Add a large pinch of salt to each pan. Bring pans to
a gently simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, toast the English muffins
beneath the broiler, if desired. Spread with the remaining 2 tablespoons
butter. Place bacon on broiler pan and broil until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes,
turning as necessary. (Or microwave the bacon on a special microwave-safe
bacon cooker.) Remove bacon from oven and place a slice, cut in half more
or less, on each toasted muffin half.

Poach eggs by carefully breaking eggs into simmering water/beer mixture, 4
eggs per pan. To avoid breaking the yolks, rinse a saucer with tap water,
then break each egg on the wet saucer and hold it close to the simmering
water's surface. Slide in the egg, one at a time. Maintain a gentle simmer
and poach the eggs up to 3 minutes, until the whites are completely set
and yolks begin to thicken but are still soft in the center.

To serve, place two muffin halves on each of four plates. Remove poached
eggs from water/beer mixture with a slotted spatula and place on top of
the bacon or ham on muffins. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce over each
muffin. Sprinkle lightly with chili powder or use a light hand with pure
red chile powder. Serve eggs hot.

Note: Extra sauce can be refrigerated and reheated gently to serve over
broccoli or boiled new potatoes. Reheat in microwave or over simmering
water. - From National Beer Wholesalers Association


Source: Clipping-Cooking Digest
Posted By: Diane Spangenberg
FROM ANN IN FLA



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