a simple man's love for food, life & star wars

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Proscuitto & Asparagus Benedict with Cheesy Grits cakes

So Eggs Benedict is one of my wife's favorite foods..and proscuitto is also one of her favorites..so I thought, why not?

For those of you who have not ever made an Eggs benedict, it is kind of intimidating to start. The Hollandaise sauce is a bit tricky to make and poaching an egg the right way usually scares people off as well. There are usually 2 big worries when making this sauce. 1) You do not want to under cook it and have it be too runny. 2.) You do not want to over cook it or it will over thicken and possibly break (separate). Another rule of thumb when making sauces is this...go the extra mile and buy clarified butter( which is stupid expensive) or make your own! This entire recipe is a bit tricky...in addition to making the sauce and poaching the eggs, you have to cook the asparagus and toast the english muffins while you are doing things to assure that it's all done and hot at the same time. Ok..so here we go!

Prosciutto & Asparagus Benedict:
8 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
4 English muffins
4 whole eggs
1 Ripe Medium Tomato
8 Small Asparagus spears
4 Egg Yolks
1/2 stick of butter
1 Tbs lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese for the grits

Before your pre prep, you have to make some grits. Just follow the recipe on whatever kind you get. These grits need to be made several hours prior so they have time to cool and get thick. Once they are thick, you can then make them into a patty shape, about 3 inches diameter and 3/4 " thick.

First off..here is your pre cooking prep:
1.) Get your asparagus ready. Lay out the 8 spears on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. 
2.) Now go put your English Muffins in the Toaster oven, ready for toasting
3.) Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees
4.) get a small sauce pan with 2 inches of water in it and get it to a slow simmer
5.) Get a medium sauce pan filled with water and heat to a boil, have a thermometer ready to put in the water
6.) Set out a fryer pan and have it ready for the proscuitto

Making Your Clarified Butter:
In a heavy-based saucepan, melt your butter. Simmer it rapidly for at least 10 min.; the water will evaporate and the milk solids will coagulate on the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the melted butter sit for a few minutes so the solids will fall to the bottom. Skim off the foam on top and then either decant the golden liquid, leaving the solids behind, or pour the melted butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. What you have now..is your new magical butter! Set it aside to cool while you goto the next step

Put in your asparagus in the oven now to cook for 5-7 minutes. You want the tips to crisp and darken, then you know it's ready to pull out

Hollandaise Sauce:
 3 egg yolks
1/2 stick of butter
3 Tbs of water
2 Tbs lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Start a small sauce pan filled with water, just a few inches and get the water to a slow simmer. Next you need a metal bowl (I have used glass as well) that can fit on the sauce pan as a lid. You want the bottom of the bowl to be just above the water. You then put the 3 egg yolks and whisk it vigorously for 30 seconds and then add the water and whisk for another seconds. This whisking prevents the eggs from cooking and whips the air into it to get the fluffiness going. Take the bowl off the heat and slowly add and whisk in the clarified butter, then lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too think or begins to curdle you can add a little of the simmering water to it to thin it out some. Set the sauce to the side and poach your eggs.

Check your asparagus!!! Start toasting your English Muffins. Put your fryer pan on med high heat.

Poached Eggs:
The trick with poaching eggs is to put a bit of salt and vinegar in the water. Keep a thermometer in the water and get it to 200 degrees. Crack you eggs and put them in a small bowl and pour them form the bowl, into the simmering water. Some people suggest stirring the water and making a little whirlpool and to pour the eggs in the center of the whirlpool. Cook your eggs for about 2 minutes, until they are fairly firm. Scoop em out and let em rest while you toast the english muffins..

Asparagus should definitely be done by now if it was not done before this step!!

Now take your grits cakes and fry them up in butter. Spirnkle heavily some shredded cheese on the side before you lay it on th pan to fry. This will crisp up and stick to the grits to make a nice firm patty. Repeat to the other side as well. Afterwards, you then need your  slices of prosciutto and fry them up..about 30 seconds per side, just enough to crisp it up so there is a nice texture contrast on the benedict.

Now you are ready to piece it all together...hopefully it should look something like this! 

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