As a breakfast, I didn’t think regular Eggs Benedict could be topped until I tried this (yes, even by a Full English). As far as I’m aware, there is no such thing as South African Eggs Benedict. I have just only ever eaten this or seen it on a menu at The Peech Hotel in Jo’berg. Hence the imaginative leap to the name of the dish.
In total I think I’ve stayed at the Peech for seven nights over the space of a year. Six times I’ve had this breakfast and once I regretted my foray into omelette territory. Not that it was bad, but a far cry from the above.
I knew I must recreate this dish at home. The difference being between a regular Eggs Benedict that instead of spinach, avocado is used. And of course the parmesan that goes into the hollandaise. I had thought bacon instead of ham was also an innovation but apparently this is a more common exchange.
For this, I also made a batch of English Muffins (veering for a change away from the safe doughy hands of Paul Hollywood and using this recipe instead). You can obviously use store bought ones (in which case skip the below), but I’d urge you to give it a go. They were dead simple to make.
Having never made them before, I was expecting oven baking to be involved but was more than pleasantly surprised to find I’d be shallow frying them in a ton of melted butter.
I cannot implore you enough at this stage to cut one of these open while they’re hot, slather it in butter and make it your bitch. Muffins done.
First things first is the hollandaise. There are tons of ways to make this from quick cheats to slow cooking. I figured as I’d bothered to already make the muffins, I should probably give this a full going over too so I went for the latter option, reducing down some white wine vinegar and water with a bay leaf and pepper corns. Boiled it down to about a tablespoons worth.
I’ve made hollandaise a few times now and it can be a cruel mistress if you’re in a hurry. The eggs will curdle at a moments notice if they get too hot. Use a bowl like the above, moving it on and off the top of a boiling pot, using the steam as heat. If in doubt, slow it down until all the butter has been slowly added and set aside. While you cook the bacon and eggs, occasionally bring it back over the heat to stop it solidifying.
As the bacon crisps up, poach the eggs in boiling water (with a dash of white wine vinegar) for exactly 3 minutes. Make sure you use a whisk to create a swirling vortex before sliding the eggs into the water.
Add the cooked bacon as per the above. You might want to depress the middle and do your best to create a dent for the eggs to sit in, or they will slide off.
Add the eggs on top and at this point grate some parmesan into the hollandaise. If you don’t want to use all the hollandaise at this stage, section some off and add the cheese to this otherwise the main mix will curdle. Then, whisk it up for about a minute to get it nice and thick (something I neglected to do).
Revel in its buttery decadence!