Smoked Salmon Benedicts
Every weekend I try to think of a fun brunch dish to make for you folks and I always have to ask myself the same question:
Is it too soon to post yet another benedict recipe?
The truth is that I would eat some form of benedict every single weekend if I could. I figure that I should offer some diversity though so I haven’t yet turned this into The Benedict Blog which I’m sure already exists.
Yes it does, but it’s not what you think.
Anyway, I really think that benedicts can and should be made in the home. They are not just for fancy restaurant brunches, people.
Smoked Salmon Benedicts
Yield: 4 servings
2 sheets of puff pastry, cut into eight circles
8 eggs, poached
8 ounces smoked salmon
Old Bay Seasoning
White vinegar, for poaching
1 egg yolk
1 cup unsalted butter, melted (clarified is best)
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce
Pinch of salt
1) Thaw puff pastry according to directions and use a large cookie or biscuit cutter to cut four circles from each sheet of puff pastry.
2) Add puff pastry to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for about 18-20 minutes until puffed and browned.
3) To make hollandaise, whisk together yolk, lemon, water, and salt. Set over a small pot of simmering water and whisk until steaming and frothy.
4) Start adding melted butter to yolk mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking furiously while you add. Continue to add melted butter until all the butter is used and sauce is silky and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
5) To poach eggs add about 1/3 cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon and bring to a simmer. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Swirl water with a slotted spoon and gently lower eggs into water. Depending on the size of your pot, you should be able to do at least 2 at a time.
6) Let eggs poach for three minutes (large eggs). Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and let drain briefly on a paper towel.
7) Split the puff pastry between four plates (2 per plate). Top each pastry with about an ounce of smoked salmon. Top each benedict with a poached egg and a drizzle of hollandaise sauce. Add capers and old bay seasoning as optional toppings.
Most benedicts are served on english muffins and you could definitely make these on those, but because the salmon is pretty light, I think puff pastry works better.
Just thaw the sheets according to the instructions and then use a large cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. You should get about four per sheet.
Bake these guys in a 375 degree oven for about 18 minutes and they will, well, puff, and turn golden brown.
These are ready to be topped!
Obviously, you’ll be making the other parts of the dish while these bake so ideally they are still warm for serving.
Besides the puff pastry there are only two real parts to this dish, both of which scare home cooks: hollandaise sauce and poached eggs.
For the sauce, just add your egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt to a medium mixing bowl like so…
Melt your butter, clarified is best, but it’s not necessary. I didn’t clarify my butter on this day and it still turned out great.
Get a small pot of water simmering on the stove and whisk your yolk mixture together over the simmering water. Whisk constantly as the yolk warms. After a minute or two the yolk mixture will start to froth and steam a bit. This is when you start adding your butter.
Start adding melted butter to the yolk mixture. Start small. Maybe a teaspoon or tablespoon of butter and whisk like crazy. As the sauce forms, you can add your butter faster and faster. One yolk should be just enough for a cup of melted butter.
Your end sauce will be silky smooth and thick. Once it’s done, season it with salt and pepper and keep it warm over the water bath. Kill the heat on the water though so it doesn’t cook any further.
The Poached Egg
I’ve written a lot about poached eggs, but again, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make it happen. You just need water and vinegar and a big fat pot.
For the ultimate walkthrough on how I poach eggs, check out this post which has a photo-by-photo walkthrough of the process.
The important parts though:
- Make sure your water and vinegar mixture is simmering, not boiling. Give it a swirl before adding the eggs.
- Crack your eggs into a bowl first and then gently drop them into the water. Don’t crack them straight into the water.
- They will need about three minutes to poach.
- Remove them with a slotted spoon and let them drain briefly on a paper towel.
Finish this dish by layering on about an ounce of smoked salmon for each puff pastry round.
Then top with a nice poached egg and a drizzle of hollandaise.
Garnish with capers and a dash of Old bay.
This dish would probably cost $18 in a restaurant. You can feed four people the same dish for that price at home.
Go forth, readers, and make benedicts for all.