Eggs Benedict – Italian Style!

I love eggs for breakfast, and if I’m out, there is one dish I will always choose for a satisfying breakfast and that’s Eggs Benedict.  I would usually have this as ‘Brunch’, because I would rarely want lunch after a plate of these.  So, let’s agree that it’s a decadent brunch option.  Eggs Benedict is actually a traditional American breakfast or brunch dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin, each topped with bacon, a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.   I sadly can’t get English muffins here, and I did contemplate making them, but once I dismissed that idea I decided I could still make a version of Eggs Benedict, but make it and Italian version. As long as there is a poached egg and hollandaise sauce… I’m happy.  Many serve Eggs Benedict with baby spinach, but I thought I’d add a favourite vegetable that I discovered living in Italy and that’s agretti.  Agretti in English is Salsola soda and if you’d like to know exactly what it is you can read about it here.  I have allowed one egg per person, but obviously you can add another!   Timing is important when it comes to making eggs benedict… just make sure you know exactly what you’re going to do and in what order before you start, and you’ll find that in little time, you’ll be presenting a restaurant worthy breakfast that will definitely impress whoever the lucky recipient is… even if that’s yourself!

Eggs Benedict Italian Style –  recipe for two people

  • 2 eggs (as fresh as possible)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Italian focaccia, pizza bianca or rustic Tuscan bread
  • 100g cooked agretti or baby spinach
  • olive oil
  • 4 slices prosciutto crudo or bacon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, (to taste)
  • 140g melted unsalted butter
  • Maldon salt flakes

 

  1. If you are using bacon, cook it first and let rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess fat.  If using prosciutto crudo, use it as is.
  2. Boil water in a small saucpean, add a little salt and boil agretti for 5 minutes. Remove, add a teaspoon of olive oil, stir and put aside.
  3. Bring a large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil, then add the vinegar.  Bring the water to a boil again, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.
  4. Put focaccia, pizza bianca or crusty bread slices in the oven at 180°C or put under the grill. Pay attention it doesn’t burn.
  5. While you can make hollandaise sauce a bain marie and whisk it by hand, I find it much easier to to make it in a blender. Melt butter.  Put 3 egg yolks,  lemon juice, and salt in a blender,  blend on medium to medium high speed for about 30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color.   Turn blender down to lowest setting and slowly pour in the hot melted butter, while continuing to blend.  Add more salt or lemon juice to taste if necessary.
  6. To poach the eggs, break the eggs into a small bowl, one at a time.   Make sure water is just at a very light simmer, and with a spoon, stir the water to create a ‘whirlpool’.  Gently drop the egg into the centre and allow to cook.  (You can pour more eggs in, one at a time, although I honestly like to do them one at a time.) To achieve a soft poached egg, it should take between 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the egg.  When ready, remove gently with a slotted spoon and allow to rest on a clean tea towell or kitchen paper.
  7. Assemble your Eggs Benedict. Place toasted bread on plate.  Add agretti or spinach, top with prosciutto and then gently lay the poached egg on top.  Spoon a generous dollop of hollandaise sauce on top, crack some black pepper on top and sprinkle with Maldon salt flakes.  You could also garnish with freshly chopped chives if you like.
  8. Eat as soon as possible!

    Uova alla Benedict

  • 2 uova (il più fresco possibile)
  • 2 cucchiaini di aceto bianco
  • focaccia, pizza bianca o il pane casalingo
  • 100g agretti o spinaci
  • olio d’oliva
  • 4 fette di prosciutto crudo
  • 3 tuorli d’uovo
  • 1 cucchiaio di succo di limone
  • 1/2 cucchiaino di sale, (a piacere)
  • 140g di burro fuso salato
  • scaglie di sale Maldon
  1. Far bollire l’acqua in una piccola pentola, aggiungere un po’ di sale e far bollire per 5 minuti gli agretti. Scolare, aggiungere un cucchiaino di olio d’oliva, mescolare e metterli da parte.
  2. Portare una grande pentola rimpieta per due terzi di acqua ad ebollizione, quindi aggiungere l’aceto. Portare l’acqua ad ebollizione ancora una volta, poi abbassare la fiamma e lasciare l’acqua a sobbillire lentamente.
  3. Mettere focaccia, pizza bianca o fette di pane in forno a 180 ° C o mettere sotto il grill. Prestare attenzione che non bruci.
  4. La salsa olandese può essere fatta a bagnomaria con una frusta a mano, ma trovo molto più facile utilizzare un frullatore. Fate sciogliere il burro. Mettere 3 tuorli d’uovo, succo di limone e il sale in un frullatore, frullare a media e medio alta velocità per circa 30 secondi, fino a quando il colore delle uova sarà più chiaro. Frullare a velocità più bassa e versare lentamente il burro fuso caldo, pur continuando a mescolare. Aggiungere più sale o succo di limone a piacere, se necessario.
  5. Per cuocere le uova in camicia, rompere le uova in una ciotola, una alla volta.  Porre l’acqua a sobbollire molto lentamente e con un cucchiaio mescolare l’acqua per creare un ‘vortice’.  Adaggiare delicatamente l’uovo in centro e lasciare cuocere. (È possibile versare più uova, anche se mi piace onestamente farne uno alla volta.) Per ottenere un uovo in camicia morbido servono tra 2 o 3 minuti, a seconda della dimensione dell’uovo. Quando si è pronti, rimuovere delicatamente con un mestolo forato e lasciare riposare su la carta da cucina.
  6. Per finire le Uova alla Benedict, mettere il pane tostato su un piatto.  Aggiungere gli agretti o spinaci, aggiungere il prosciutto e poi posare delicatamente l’uovo in camicia in cima.  Mettere una generosa cucchiaiata di salsa olandese in cima, un po ‘di pepe nero e cospargere con scaglie di sale Maldon. Si può anche guarnire con erba cipollina fresca tritata, se volete.
  7. Mangiare il più presto possibile!