Birthday Brunch

If you’ve ever been for brunch with N, you probably know what he orders. He’s a creature of habit and never strays far from his beloved Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. I don’t really blame him. How can you really go wrong with a delicious biscuit, smoked salmon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce?

You can’t. Don’t try and argue with him.

This year for his birthday, we were heading out to the lake with my dad. I decided it’d be fun to make them Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict the morning of his birthday. I’d never attempted Hollandaise sauce and was honestly a bit intimidated, but I decided to go for it anyway.

I watched a lot of Alton Brown’s Good Eats¬†episodes on how to make Hollandaise as well as how to poach eggs and time everything so it all comes together. By Saturday, I was still pretty intimidated. Alton had some great tips though so if you’re attempting eggs benny for a group of people, I would definitely recommend his instructions and videos. I also really loved his addition of a bit of cayenne to the Hollandaise. The little bit of added spice was a nice surprise.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I’m obsessed with Kerry Gold Grass Fed butter. Well, this was the last of it. It all went into this Hollandaise. (Yes, we really enjoy our fat.)

I mean, look at the gorgeous butter. I really need to go the States so I can pick some more up!

I made the birthday boy take some photos for me so I could blog this recipe. I’m such a nice girlfriend. Please excuse my ratty lake hair though. I’m trying to train my hair to go unwashed for longer periods of time. Who likes washing their hair anyway? Don’t be grossed out. You know you don’t like washing your hair all the time either.

With Hollandaise, you have to add the butter so slowly and be really careful with the heat. This was a pretty big test of my whisking strength and my patience. It turns out, I need to work on that (the whisking, not the patience). My arm got tired pretty quickly and I ended up with a blister on my finger. It was truly worth it for the delicious brunch we ended up with though.

I was quite proud and obviously had to show off my sauce. Doesn’t it look delicious? I wish I could have some now, in fact.

This recipe taught me that I need to work on perfecting my biscuit shaping and egg poaching. Neither turned out quite as nicely as I’d have liked. The biscuits tasted delicious and, more importantly, the eggs were runny, so I’m pretty sure that’s all that really matters.

Below, I’ve typed out the Alton Brown recipe I used with my slight tweaks. (Instead of sugar, I used a bit of honey and I didn’t have an infrared thermometer so I couldn’t measure the temperature as accurately as he did. It’s very much the same as his, but fits into our “Paleo” lifestyle a little bit better since it doesn’t have sugar.)

Hollandaise Sauce
– 1 quart saucier
– 3 egg yolks
– 1 tbl water
– 1/2 tsp cayenne, divided
– kosher salt
– 2 – 3 tbl lemon juice
– 1/4 tsp honey
– 12 tbl unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

Combine egg yolks, water, 1/4 tsp of cayenne powder, and kosher salt in the saucier and beat until light and frothy. This should take about one minute.
Put the saucier over low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on and off the heat ever 10 to 15 seconds. Once it reaches a custard-like consistency, start adding the butter, one pad at a time. Continue whisking.
Once half the butter has been added, add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Continue adding the butter until it is all whisked in. Add the second tablespoon of lemon juice, the remaining cayenne powder, and the honey. Whisk for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Taste and add more lemon juice, as desired. Transfer to a thermos until ready to serve.

I highly recommend trying this recipe out. It’s delicious and looks pretty impressive when your brunch guests sit down to eat.

Bon Appetit!

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