Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

This recipe is not easy. Or quick. Or even remotely healthy. It is, however, incredibly decadent and delicious. And if you’re in need of a classy brunch fix, don’t bother waiting in line at the local overpriced joint, make this recipe instead. Full disclosure though, there was a lot of yelling and cursing involved during preparation… Poaching eggs is a delicate operation and making hollandaise sauce requires patience and attention. It is damn good though and well worth the anxiety. Friends, pour yourself a glass of champagne topped off with some fresh squeezed orange juice and get your butt in the kitchen, these eggs benedict aren’t going to make themselves!

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Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp water

6 tbsp butter

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

pinch of cayenne

pinch of salt

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

4 eggs

water

2 English muffins

1 cup fresh spinach

olive oil

smoked salmon

fresh parsley

To make hollandaise sauce: Put the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly until light and frothy and slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Return to heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick. Add lemon juice and cayenne, taste and adjust seasoning.

To poach eggs: Bring an inch of water to a boil in a small skillet, add teaspoon of salt and vinegar, and lower the heat so it barely bubbles. Crack the eggs in a bowl and gently slip them into the water. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Assembly: Saute spinach in a  little olive oil until wilted. Toast English muffins. Top each muffin with a little spinach, a piece of smoked salmon, an egg, and a spoonful of hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This recipe was not all sunshine and rainbows, as you can probably imagine. My beautiful silky hollandaise sauce started to separate at one point and I freaked out. After some quick googling, I read that placing an ice cube in the sauce and whisking furiously can often do the trick. And it worked!

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Tartines

I’m not quite sure what inspired me to whip up a mid-week tartine party. A tartine, for you plebeians, is a French open-faced sandwich topped with spreadable ingredients. It’s possible the inspiration came from looking at a tartine-devoted Pinterest board or flipping through the latest issue of Bon Appetit, or maybe it’s just my innate gravitation toward all things classy. Think of a tartine as a blank canvass.  Don’t know what to do with those heirlooms and fresh goat cheese? Slap it on some good french bread and call it a day. Mash avocado and sprinkle red pepper flakes and sea salt on top. Layer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Ricotta, fresh figs and a drizzle of honey? Yes, please. If you really think about it though, these tartines are not that distant from a dish my dad used to call S.O.S— or, “shit on a shingle,” a staple in U.S. army cuisine, made of rehydrated slivers of dried beef in a white sauce served on toast. Wisely my dad traded his serving of S.O.S for fruit cocktail. I knew I had classy roots. So, if you’re looking for a way to class up a Tuesday night, look no further than tartines. Toast. It’s what’s for dinner.

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Egg Salad and Smoked Salmon Tartine

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

4 eggs

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp mayo

salt and pepper

1 tsp chopped fresh dill

a few pieces of smoked salmon

2 sliced of french bread

Place eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, cover and turn the heat off. Let the eggs sit for about 10 minutes. Peel the eggs and cool until they are room temperature. Smash up the eggs with the back of a fork and mix in the mustard, mayo, dill, and salt and pepper. Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toast in a 350 degree oven until slightly browned. Place a piece of smoked salmon on the bread, spread on the egg salad and garnish with a sprig of dill. Cut in half and serve.

Roasted Eggplant, Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartine

1 small eggplant

1 tomato, slices

1 clove garlic

red pepper flakes

1/2 a lemon

goat cheese

sea salt

cumin

2 slices of french bread

Wrap the eggplant in foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until very soft. Mash up the eggplant in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice, red pepper flakes, cumin and sea salt. Brush the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and toast in a 350 degree oven until slightly browned. Spread the eggplant mixture on the bread, dot with the goat cheese and top with fresh tomato slices and sea salt. Cut in half and serve.

Fig and Arugula Salad

2 cups of arugula

4 fresh figs

drizzle of honey

drizzle of olive oil

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

shaved parmesan

salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine arugula, sliced figs, shaved parmesan and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Sprinkle salt and pepper and toss to combine.

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