This recipe puts a fun spin on classic hollandaise! Pesto gives the sauce an added kick of flavor and makes for the most delicious eggs Benedict ever!
I used to have this thing about eggs. Unless they were hard boiled, I never used to eat them. Not scrambled. Not sunny side up. And definitely not in omelet form. I think it was a texture issue.
The first time that I visited Alex for the weekend after we started dating long distance, he cooked me an omelet for breakfast. Alex loves eggs, and I knew that it was an attempt to impress me. I guess I’d forgotten to tell him that I hated omelets. I was falling in love with him, and so I decided to be a good sport and choke down the omelet that he made for me with a smile.
Now, after so many years with Alex, I’ve actually learned to like eggs. I still hate omelets, but I can now enjoy scrambled eggs, an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, and eggs over easy (or “dippy eggs”, as we call them here in Pittsburgh). And within the last couple of years I discovered the holy grail that I’d been missing out on all this time: eggs Benedict.
With a toasty English muffin, crispy Canadian bacon, a perfectly poached egg, and dreamy, creamy hollandaise sauce, eggs Benedict is basically a breakfast sandwich on crack. I’m always excited when I see eggs Benedict on a brunch menu, but it’s just too tasty not to make at home! And now this breakfast classic gets a fun twist with the addition of basil pesto to the hollandaise sauce.
Eggs Benedict with Pesto Hollandaise
1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
1 T white vinegar
3 large egg yolks
1 T lemon juice
1 T cold water
8 slices (about 8 oz.) Canadian bacon
4 English muffins
1 T warm water
1 T basil pesto
Note: I recommend enlisting the help of a sous chef for this recipe. They can help you whisk the hollandaise if your arm gets tired, and they can help with toasting the English muffins, heating the bacon, and keeping an eye on the hollandaise while you’re poaching the eggs.
Place the butter in a saucepan and melt, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat. Let the butter stand for three minutes, then skim the foam (as much as possible) from the top of the butter.
Fill a deep skillet with 1.5 inches cold water plus the salt and vinegar and set aside.
In another saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, and cold water until frothy. Place the saucepan on the stove over low heat and whisk the mixture continuously and vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes a pale yellow. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Place the skillet with water, salt, and vinegar on the stove and heat it to a light simmer (190°F).
While the water is heating up, gradually add the melted butter to the egg yolk mixture while continuing to stir the mixture with the whisk. Add the first third of the butter a drop at a time, the second third a teaspoon at a time, and the final third a tablespoon at a time. Be sure to leave the milky solids behind when scooping the butter out of the pan; do not add the milk solids to the egg yolk mixture. Stir the mixture with the whisk until all melted butter is combined. Return saucepan to stove burner over very low heat and stir frequently in between the next couple of steps to keep the mixture smooth.
Split and toast the English muffins. While the muffins are toasting, place the Canadian bacon in a frying pan over medium heat to warm and brown the meat, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Then remove the frying pan from the heat.
Meanwhile, once the water in the skillet is lightly simmering, poach the eggs. Crack each egg into a small bowl or ramekin and slowly and gently pour each egg into the water so that the egg doesn’t spread. Let each egg cook for 4 minutes. Remove each egg from the water with a slotted spoon after 4 minutes. Place directly onto the Canadian bacon (see assembly below) or onto a plate if you’re not quite ready to assemble the eggs Benedict.
While the eggs are cooking, whisk the warm water into the hollandaise sauce. Then whisk in the pesto.
Arrange the toasted English muffins onto 4 plates and place a slice of Canadian bacon on each. Place a poached egg on top of each slice of bacon and top with a scoop of hollandaise sauce.