Smoked Salmon Benedict for Easter – A Poaching Primer

my perfect poached eggs atop a smoked salmon benedict
After all the excitement leading up to easter sunday, I was disappointed when a big family brunch at my place fell through. Still, even if I had to set the table for Tickle-Me-Elmo and my stuffed hippo Happie, dammit!, I was going to make brunch! Thank goodness for Jenn and John, guests who came though at the end, else no one would have appreciated what I couldn’t believe turned out to be picture-perfect poached eggs my first time. (All my stuffed animals are on Weight Watchers, so they wouldn’t have touched the stuff.)

cheers to easter with a cranberry champagne cocktail

I’ve watched many a celebrity chef poach eggs on tv, and with all the detailed instructions, “be careful to do this” and “make sure you do that,” I thought my first few amateur attempts would understandably leave me with watery scrambled eggs. Ha! First one out of the gate and it came out a winner. You see, although there is a technique, there’s no talent for making poached eggs. Those silly chefs just purposely make it look hard so that they look like culinary geniuses when their eggs poach perfectly. bua ha ha ha! I’m onto them now. Next thing you know, I’ll determine souffles are nothing more than a piece of cake! Literally.

bring on the bacon

roasted potatoes, pre-hollandaise

What screams sunday brunch more than Eggs Benedict? Cranberry and champagne cocktails, and well, for us, an entire package of extra thick smoked bacon! Apparently, the replacement of Canadian bacon on the Benedict with smoked salmon dropped us too far below the fat/calorie floor, so we added back its choleterol-laden american cousin on the side. And as if that weren’t enough to get the cardiologist’s beeper hopping, everything, including the garlic and herb roasted potatoes and asparagus that could have saved our hearts, was drenched in hollandaise sauce. Yes, I cheated and made the holladaise from a *gasp!* package, but I didn’t think I could handle poaching eggs for the first time and making holladaise from scratch. Now I know, next time, I could do both and probably lay the eggs myself.

How to Make Perfectly Poached Eggs

sarah’s notes: a large pot with low sides makes it easier to take the poached eggs out, and i think you can do as many as will fit into the pot at one time, but i am a wimp, and did one egg at a time. and who cares about a slotted spoon?! just use whatever you have to fish those slippery little suckers out of the water.

1. bring a pot of water with about 3 inches of water to a simmer
2. add ~ 3 tbsp white vinegar – this apparently helps the eggs to “set”
3. crack an egg into a little bowl, cup or a large ladle, then slip the egg into the simmering water.
4. you can herd the little egg white flyaways back together, but it’s not really going to do anything
5. after about 3 minutes, remove the egg. for the rest, lather, rinse, repeat.

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