Seared Salmon Benedicts


Almost nobody hates eggs benedicts. I was going to say “nobody” period, but Google search turns up 27 results for “I hate eggs benedict”, which means there are at least 27 people out there who suck and don’t count. The rest of the population of the world is then split into two categories: people who love eggs benedict, and people who haven’t had it but want to try. Up until yesterday I was in the latter category of people. But no more! It is definitely a dish everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.

Eggs benedict are a sort of super project for people who love to cook and are still learning how. It teaches you how to clarify butter, how to make hollandaise sauce, and how poach eggs; all very useful tools for many other dishes.

Ingredients

Serving someone eggs benedict - useful for when you're trying to give someone heart disease and still have them think they like you the entire time.

Serving someone eggs benedict – useful for when you’re trying to give someone heart disease and still have them think they like you the entire time.

Cooking + Prep time: 1 hour
Serves Two*

6 eggs**
2 1/2 sticks butter + 2 tablespoons, OR 1 cup clarified butter + 2 tablespoon unclarified butter
1 English muffin
1 tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 four-ounce (120g) portions of salmon
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley (garnish, optional)

*There is enough hollandaise in this recipe for 20 benedicts. Take this into consideration when scaling the recipe for a large crowd.
**You will need four yolks plus two whole eggs. Use the freshest eggs possible for best results in terms of both taste and cooking.

Cooking

Clarified butter is (probably, I never actually checked) available for purchase at your local grocery store. However, if you, like me, don’t have any, you will have to make some yourself. Take a small pot and place it over the stove at the lowest heat you can manage. Place your sticks of butter into the pan and let them melt.

They're melt their way into your heart, then clog it up and kill you.

They’re melt their way into your heart, then clog it up and kill you.

After 20-30 minutes, you will have a layer of white scum floating atop a pool of piss-colored oil (poetry was never my strength). Use a spoon to scoop the stuff off the top. Then, if you have a cheese cloth, pour the melted butter into a container covered by the cheese cloth. Otherwise, do your best to siphon out as much of the white solids as you can.

A Chinese man will tell you this represents Yin and Yang in perfect balance. A Frenchman will tell you the Chinese man is lying, you should scoop out that white shit because it's ruining your ability to make a good hollandaise.

A Chinese man will tell you this represents Yin and Yang in perfect balance. A Frenchman will tell you the Chinese man is lying, you should scoop out that white shit because it’s ruining your ability to make a good hollandaise.

Now, crack four eggs and separate the yolks out into a glass or metal bowl. Bring a pot of water to a bare simmer. Whisk the yolks until they are slightly paler in color and a bit foamy. Meanwhile, prepare your lemon juice and have your clarified butter in a pourable container within easy reach. You will need these ingredients in short order soon.

Start by whisking the egg yolks by themselves over the pot of barely simmering water. The bowl of egg yolks should benefit from the heat of the water, but the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Then, add a small amount of butter into the egg yolks and whisk to incorporate. Each time the butter is incorporated, add another bit of butter, in slowly increasing amounts, until all the butter has been whisked into the egg yolk. The sauce should start to thicken slightly. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional). Whisk to combine, then take it off heat.

You could probably make this sauce look really nice by having good lighting and some fancy shaped porcelain container as its receptacle, set on a table with a clean patterned tablecloth overlooking an open window that shows the house is situated near a cliff with a view of the blue ocean. And maybe a pretty girl with lovely breasts is standing next to the table wearing a summer dress. If a picture is worth a thousand words this caption would really have to be really really long in order to be its equal.

You could probably make this sauce look really nice by having good lighting and some fancy shaped porcelain container as its receptacle, set on a table with a clean patterned tablecloth overlooking an open window that shows the house is situated near a cliff with a view of the blue ocean. And maybe a pretty girl with lovely breasts is standing next to the table wearing a summer dress. If a picture is worth a thousand words this caption would really have to be really really long in order to be its equal.

Now, either using the same pot of water or a separate pot, keep (or bring) the water to/at a bare simmer and add a splash of vinegar. Slice your English muffin in half lengthwise and begin toasting it. Heat up two tablespoons of butter in a non-stick pan over high heat. When the butter in the pan stops bubbling, add the salmon. You want to sear it quickly on both sides to give it a bit of brown without overcooking the fish, about a minute or two on both sides depending on the power of your stove.

One smells like fish, is soft to the touch, and is pink and moist, the other is a fillet of salmon.

One smells like fish, is soft to the touch, and is pink and moist, the other is a fillet of salmon.

Have two eggs on hand. When the pot of water comes to a bare simmer, crack the eggs and gently release them into the water as close to the water as you can. Do not disturb the water while cooking. Let the eggs cook for about 4 minutes, or until the whites are cooked and the yolk is still runny. Gently lift the eggs out of the water and trim off the excess ribbons of white from the main mass.

The asparagus in this meal is like the diet coke in a Big Mac combo meal, it keeps things healthy.

The asparagus in this meal is like the diet coke in a Big Mac combo meal, it keeps things healthy.

Assemble your benedicts: place half an English muffin as the base, a piece of salmon, then the poached egg on top. Generously spoon (but do not drench) hollandaise onto each benedict. Serve immediately.

The general rule about hollandaise is that it should be used (or frozen, according to some sources) within two hours of creation, before the raw egg yolks become a health concern. Plan accordingly if you are serving to many guests for an occasion.

The Result

Might as well spread the love.

Might as well spread the love.

I had a mouth orgasm on the first bite. That is all.

Conclusion

Sorry about the photos, they did not come out as well as I thought they would. Maybe I can try cooking at an earlier time when the lighting is better. But it was certainly one of the best dishes I’ve had in recent memory. Try it sometime, you or whoever you make it for won’t be disappointed.

Advertisements

Bakin’ with Bacon


The twenty-first entry proper: today Food in Mind reaches drinking age! YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…..

This installment is dedicated to bacon. There will probably be more installments in the future also dedicated to bacon, but this is the first. Vegetarians, tree huggers, vegans, and practicing Muslims: cover your eyes, hold your noses, lock your doors, and pucker up your assholes, because you know that sweet, sweet scent of savory smoked pork will rape you senseless. The only thing better than lust and gluttony is the lust of gluttony.

There are three items in all, listed in order of difficulty. None of them are particularly difficult though, so be bold!

Stage 1: The Elvis Sandwich

He's the King in a country that shunned monarchy. Go figure.

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana
3-6 strips of bacon*
peanut butter
2 slices bread

*3 strips of bacon for single layer, 6 for double layer of bacon. You may also wish to consider a teaspoon of honey if you are going for double layer.

Elvis has a sandwich named after him? Fuck yeah. It’s reputedly his favorite sandwich, according to his mother no less. Making it is easy.

Fry up your bacon strips until they are crispy. Slather one slice of bread with peanut butter on one side; top with banana slices. Place crispy bacon strips on top of the bananas. The sweetness of bananas are a nice balance to a single layer of bacon. However, if you wish to use double the bacon, I recommend drizzling a teaspoon of honey over the bacon. Cover with second slice of bread, and toast both sides of the sandwich in a pan until golden brown. Slice (or not) depending on preference and eat.

Stage 2: Yorkshire Pudding

NOTE: Yorkshire Pudding should be served as soon as possible and consumed within 30 minutes of production. Take this into account when timing your cooking.

What do you do with all the rendered bacon grease from frying your bacon? Throw it away? NO! Of course not. You’d find other ways to clog your arteries with it. Enter Yorkshire pudding. I have no idea where Yorkshire is, but their pudding is pretty decent. Recipe adapted from here with additional research and testing.

Yorkshire, it's New York except for hobbits.

Ingredients:

3/4 cups milk
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup bacon grease (Most likely less)
1 muffin/cupcake mold

Yorkshire pudding is essentially equal parts milk and flour with eggs and a little salt, fried in an oven. The ingredients are simple, so the key is in the execution.

If you're thinking you'll never eat this because it's unhealthy, it's probably time to get off your ass and go for a run.

Preheat your oven to 425F-450F. Stick your empty muffin mold into the oven. The temperature varies depending on your oven, so experiment with both settings.

Measure out your flour and crack two eggs over it. Mix together to form a wet dough. Crack the third egg and mix some more to form a thick batter. Add a teaspoon of salt. Dump in all of your milk to create a very thin batter.

I used skim milk because I'm so health conscious!

Once your oven has reached its target temperature, remove the hot muffin mold and pour a thin layer of bacon grease into each mold. Many recipes tell you to pour as much as 1 cm of oil into each mold, but I find that you do not need nearly as much oil. Too much oil will result in lakes of grease within your puddings.

Return the mold to the oven until the oil is very hot, about 20-30 seconds. Then take the mold back out again, and pour about 4 tablespoons of batter into each mold. Don’t fill the mold entirely! This pudding puffs up like a wolf that’s about to blow your house down.

Is there anything that isn't called a pudding by the Brits? Christmas pudding, vanilla pudding, bread pudding, Yorkshire pudding, all of these things are nothing alike one another

Bake the puddings for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Stage 3: Breakfast Pizza

Ate this for lunch the other day. By white middle class standards I'm a rebel.

Dough (for ~15 inch pie)*

2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water**
1/2 tbsp sugar

Topping

2 eggs, scrambled
5 strips of crispy bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cups shredded cheese***
1/3 medium onion, diced and either sauteed or caramelized
thin slices of tomato (optional)

*You can use store-bought dough, but where’s the fun in that?
**Water should be between 110F and 118F (~45C to 48C) for optimal yeast activation. It can be cooler, but do not go over this temperature lest you kill the yeast cells.
***Mozzarella is optimal, but I only had cheddar. It still works. A combination of both is also super.

Begin with the dough. Measure out 1/3 cups of warm water, yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cups of flour into a container. Loosely cover the container and let sit in a warm area for about 20 minutes. This will proof the yeast to make sure that it works; you should see pockmarks where air bubbles have surfaced in the mixture.

Yeast infections are so delicious

Dump your remaining flour and water into this mixture as well as the salt. Mix together a bit, and get your hands into the mixture until all the water is absorbed and you have a dough. Knead this dough for about 8-10 minutes on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic. Pour about a tablespoon of oil into a pot. Roll your ball of dough around in the pot to cover it with oil. Cover the pot and let it sit somewhere warm for about two hours.

A left testicle

It's so shiny! Stick it into a socketed weapon to confer bonus damage against the undead

Meanwhile, get started on a filling. Shred your cheese, chop your onions and bacon, scramble your eggs. For the bacon, I prefer cutting it first before frying; some people recommend doing this the other way around.

Bacon

Don't be a dumbass like me: try to buy bacon as lean as possible so your pieces don't shrivel up once the fat is rendered out.

For the onions, I was going to caramelize them but decided against it since caramelizing onions take such a long time. Feel free to use caramelized onions if you happen to have some on hand or are already going to make a large batch.

For the eggs, well, here’s a picture of how mine turned out:

Egg

The black specks are the dried ground pieces of a rare dung beetle species found in India. They're optional.

Let all the ingredients cool once you have cooked them. Once cooled, assemble everything except for the tomato slices in a dish. Mix evenly.

Chopped Bacon

If you got to this step but became too lazy to carry on for whatever reason, these things are all great between toast or inside a breakfast burrito.

When your dough is ready, gently press some of the air out of it and remove it from the pot.

Dough

IT'S BIGFOOT

Pre-heat your oven to 500F, or as high as most ovens will go. It’ll take a while.

Pat the dough into the desired shape of your pie. Resist the urge to play around with the dough too much. It’s wonderfully elastic, but you can still run the risk of having it become too thin in certain areas, or worse, punching a hole through the dough.

Pizza

Yo dawg, I heard you like toppings so I made two toppings so you could top your topping while you're topping your pizza.

Place the dough onto your baking sheet/pie pan/stone slab and top with your bacon/cheese/onion/egg mixture. Place the tomato slices on top of your topping. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the crust is golden.

Pizza

It certainly beats your tofurkey omelet made with egg whites from a carton and your soylent green side salad. Real men eat real food.

Slice and serve however you like.

Conclusion

Mmmm, bacon. I came, I cooked, and I ate. Its possibilities are limitless, its power level, over nine thousand. Sure, you could fry them and eat them straight up, but why do that when you can combine them with so many other tasty things? If you love bacon, you owe it to yourself to diversify your bacon consuming methods. Be bold!