Friends with Benedicts


Whenever I go to a new brunch place, my go to menu favorite is either corned beef hash or smoked salmon eggs Benedict.  Why?  Because I have a serious addiction to salty food.  And because I’m hypertensive and not supposed to indulge in salty food I enjoy them that much more.  Salt is the apple to my Eve.

The best smoked salmon eggs Benedict I’ve ever had is in Sacramento, Fox & Goose.  The hollandaise was creamy, thick and…well, cheesy.  Hollandaise is not made with cheese–lots and lots of butter but no cheese.  I haven’t recreated it at home yet but it was a perfectly executed hollandaise, so I licked that little sauce cup clean.  My other fave spot for eggs Benedict is in San Francisco’s SOMA district, Butler & the Chef Bistro with their creamy, rich hollandaise sauce served by a French Asian waitress, so charming and adorable I wanted to go all Pepe le Pew on her every time she came by.  Their variation is to use a crusty baguette as the vehicle for the creamy sauce, poached eggs and smoked salmon which was a great balance of textures.

Allow me to deconstruct the eggs Benedict:

Poached egg

The egg portion of eggs Benedict is hard for most to make because of the poached eggs.  Getting it to the right softness and achieving that perfectly round shape without shards of poached egg hanging off to the side were my Everest.  I tried for years with using vinegar and timers and I got maybe one or two good poached eggs out of 8.  So I wised up and consulted food geek Alton Brown for this awesome pro tip that never occurred to me because I never took Physics in high school, plus I cut class a lot.  The keys to perfectly poached eggs are:

  • Creating a whirlpool bath in which they  leisurely poach
  • Drop some white vinegar in there to minimize frayed edges
  • Don’t drop the egg in the whirlpool bath; use a custard cup and gently slide it out
  • After a minute, turn off the heat and leave it alone to poach for five minutes; don’t peek!

Hollandaise sauce

This is the other task I dread about eggs Benedict.  I tried it once and it didn’t go well.  Let’s just say the clean up from the blender accident and the resulting buttery counters and cabinet door surfaces drove me to hollandaise made from those sauce packets.  Thankfully, I’ve found an alternative.

Bread and protein choices

Customize and get creative with your Benedict right here.  I’ve seen protein choices ranging from the sublime (smoked salmon) to the ridiculous (kalua pork).  For your  bread, I recommend a crusty  variety like a baguette or ciabatta.  I’d stay away from soggy breads that can’t hold up to all that saucy, eggy, meaty goodness like white bread or rolls cut in half.  Traditional eggs Benedict is made with muffins but meh, you can do better.


  • *Trader Joe’s hollandaise sauce found in the egg section
  • Toasted sourdough baguette or ciabatta bread
  • Poached egg
  • Protein of your choice (smoked salmon, Canadian bacon, ham, etc)
    Capers and Italian parsley for garnish

*This is by far my favorite TJs find.  You know how some TJs items are just offered seasonally?  I got paranoid about that one day and decided to stock up and bought 10 tubs and froze them.  Thaw a tub the night before you feel like a Benedict binge and either heat said tub in the microwave or gently simmer in a small pot of boiling water.  Although, don’t put the plastic tub directly on the pot or melting might ensue.  Instead do it double boiler style with the tub in a bowl placed over but not touching the boiling water in the pot.


Poach your eggs using aforementioned tips. Reheat your TJs hollandaise while your poached eggs are resting in their whirlpool bath. Finally, toast your bread and assemble with your chosen protein, topped with your poached egg and drizzled with your hollandaise. Garnish with capers and parsley.

The hollandaise will separate into buttery globs after the microwave but don’t panic and just pour out to a bowl and stir to return to its creamy state.

Your kitchen might look like this


But in the end, it will be worth it