Few dishes appeal to both the Sunday Brunch set and the Oh-Boy-What-Did-I-Do-Last-Night set as seamlessly as eggs benedict; however either way it's great a dish to order out or cook for yourself. Whipping up eggs benedict at home is as easy as boiling water, and probably more rewarding. The traditional benedict is composed of an English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. From the bottom up:
Toast your English muffins until golden brown. Artisan breads such as ciabatta or baguette slices also work well.
A slice of Canadian bacon is traditional, but most salt-cured hams work well. Prosciutto, Sopresata, and Serrano ham are all excellent substitutes.
Fill a wide saucepan with an inch of water. Bring to a simmer and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the juice of half a lemon (don’t omit this—the acid ensures the egg white will set cleanly). Crack your egg into a small bowl, then gently lower the bowl into the water. You want to carefully slide (this is critical) the egg into the water rather than drop it in. Poach for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites set and the yolk is still runny. Then remove with a slotted spoon.
If you’ve ever made a basic vinaigrette, you can tackle a hollandaise. Make as much or as little as you please, but figure one egg yolk per serving.
Whisk the yolks and lemon in a bowl over a simmering water bath (your poaching liquid will do just fine). As the yolks heat, they will lighten in color and thicken. Warm to 160-170 degrees to eradicate any harmful bacteria. Remove from heat. Continue to whisk as you add the melted butter in a slow steady stream. Add salt and pepper to taste.