Classic Eggs Benedict

James Bond fans will know that Eggs Benedict is one of 007's favorite breakfast dishes (the other is scrambled eggs).

James Bond fans will know that Eggs Benedict is one of 007's favorite breakfast dishes (the other is scrambled eggs). Bond orders them at a restaurant in Manhattan in Diamonds Are Forever, and on a train in Japan in You Only Live Twice. You need to go no further than your own kitchen to enjoy this classic brunch recipe from our culinary team at etoile Restaurant.

2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
4 thick slices ham or Canadian bacon, warmed
4 poached eggs
½ cup Hollandaise Sauce
Rice vinegar (for poaching the eggs)

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce
3 large egg yolks
1½ tbsp cold water
½ cup warm clarified butter (see Savvy Tip below)
1 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
Dash hot red pepper sauce (optional)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste

Instructions for Hollandaise Sauce:
Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Place in the top of a double boiler or in a large stainless-steel bowl set up as a double boiler. Off the heat, whisk the egg mixture until it is light and frothy.

Place the top of the double boiler or the bowl over, not in, barely simmering water and continue to whisk until the eggs are thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot. Remove the pan or bowl from over the water and whisk to slightly cool the mixture.

Whisking constantly, very slowly add butter, then whisk in lemon juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water. Serve immediately or keep the sauce warm for up to 30 minutes by placing the bowl in water (not hot).

Instructions for Poaching Eggs
If you don't have an egg poacher (technically an egg steamer, since the eggs do not come in contact with water), you can use any shallow sauce pan with a lid.

Crack each egg separately into a small bowl or cup.

Fill the saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of cold water and bring to almost boiling. Important: water should not be boiling/rolling when you place the eggs in it. Add one or two teaspoons of vinegar to the water. This will help prevent the egg whites from becoming stringy while they cook.

Dip the edge of each bowl containing an egg into the hot water and let the egg slide into the water. You can use a spoon to nudge the whites closer to the yolks.

TURN OFF THE HEAT ONCE YOU HAVE PUT ALL THE EGGS IN. Let the eggs cook for 4 minutes in the water as it cools.

Assembly: Place one half of a toasted, buttered English muffin on a plate and top with a slice of warm bacon or ham. Top this with a poached egg, using a slotted spoon to transfer it from the pan. Spoon Hollandaise sauce over each egg and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Suggested wine pairing: etoile Brut