Springtime Eggs Benedict with Asparagus, Ham, and Quick Lemony Hollandaise Sauce

Springtime Eggs Benedict with Asparagus, Ham, and Quick Lemony Hollandaise Sauce (Wendy Goodfriend)

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor

I’m a little obsessed with Della Fattoria. I love their bread, I love their pastries, but I especially love their savory brunch and lunch items. Anytime I have guests come visit, we head there for the always-popular brunch, and I almost always get their fabulous “Eggs Bennie” with spinach.

This is my take on their gorgeous dish – complete with thick slices of crunchy country-style toast, excellent-quality ham, and a lemony hollandaise. I use their Meyer lemon-rosemary bread for the base, but you can use any great bread that you love: levain, sourdough, etc.

To cut down on the time this takes, I also worked in some time-saving steps. Hollandaise doesn’t have to be a chore over the stovetop when you can make it in a snap in a blender. And instead of poaching the eggs, I just fry mine, which takes less time and effort.

To make this a great dish for entertaining, such as a celebratory Easter brunch, I chose to add roasted fresh asparagus. Not only do I simply adore asparagus, but it also happens to go exceedingly well with lemon, hollandaise, and eggs.

This makes 4 to 8 servings, depending on how hungry you are. One was plenty for me, but if you are hungry by all means eat two!

    Here are some ideas for personalizing your dish:

  • Swap out sautéed spinach for the asparagus
  • Leave out the ham for vegetarian version
  • Use bacon or pancetta in place of the ham
  • Use toasted English muffins in place of the bread
  • Poach the eggs instead of frying
Springtime Eggs Benedict with Asparagus, Ham, and Quick Lemony Hollandaise Sauce
Springtime Eggs Benedict with Asparagus, Ham, and Quick Lemony Hollandaise Sauce (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Eggs Benedict with Asparagus

[Printer-Friendly Recipe]

Makes 4 to 8 servings, depending on how hungry you are

Ingredients:

    Quick Lemony Hollandaise Sauce (makes about 1 cup)

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 lb medium asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices good-quality, thinly sliced ham (I used Fork in the Road Black Forest ham from Whole Foods)
  • 8 large organic eggs
  • 8 slices your favorite country-style crusty bread (I used Della Fattoria’s Meyer lemon-rosemary bread)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus before roasting.
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus before roasting. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. To make the Hollandaise sauce, put the egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt in a blender jar or the bowl of a small food processor. In a small saucepan, heat the butter until melted and hot. Secure the lid of the blender or processor, and, turn the machine on. With the machine running, slowly pour the melted butter in through the plug. Blend until the butter is incorporated and the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water (or a saucepan over low heat); cover the bowl and set aside to keep warm, stirring occasionally.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and add them to the blender to make the Hollandaise.
    Separate the egg yolks and add them to the blender to make the Hollandaise. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    With the machine running, slowly pour the melted butter in through the plug. Blend until the butter is incorporated and the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds.
    With the machine running, slowly pour the melted butter in through the plug. Blend until the butter is incorporated and the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Transfer to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water or a sauce pan over low heat.
    Transfer to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water or a sauce pan over low heat. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  4. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with a few teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, stirring once, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. (Note: the amount of time it takes depends on the thickness of your spears; its best to err on the side of more crisp spears as they will remain in the warm oven for a few minutes while you finish the other components of the dish.)
  5. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with a few teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, stirring once, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
    Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with a few teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, stirring once, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  6. Just before the asparagus is ready, push it over to the side of the baking sheet, and add the ham slices, spreading them out. When the asparagus is ready, turn off the oven and leave the door closed to keep warm while you finish making the rest of the dish.
  7. Just before the asparagus is ready, push it over to the side of the baking sheet, and add the ham slices, spreading them out.
    Just before the asparagus is ready, push it over to the side of the baking sheet, and add the ham slices, spreading them out. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  8. While the asparagus is roasting, toast the bread and make the eggs. Using two large frying pans, warm 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil in each pan over medium heat (unless you have a griddle and can fit all 8 eggs on that). Fry the eggs to medium (I made mine sunnyside up, just cover the pan to help the tops of the whites cook through).
  9. Fry the eggs to medium.
    Fry the eggs to medium. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  10. While you are plating, re-warm the Hollandaise gently over the pot of hot water if necessary.
  11. Divide the toast between warmed individual plates, using 1 or 2 slices per plate. Top each slice with a slice of ham, then divide the asparagus between the toasts. Top each slice with a fried egg, then spoon some Hollandaise over the top. Garnish with the chopped chives and serve at once.
  12. Divide the toast between warmed individual plates, using 1 or 2 slices per plate. Top each slice with a slice of ham, then divide the asparagus between the toasts.
    Divide the toast between warmed individual plates, using 1 or 2 slices per plate. Top each slice with a slice of ham, then divide the asparagus between the toasts. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Top each slice with a fried egg, then spoon some Hollandaise over the top.
    Top each slice with a fried egg, then spoon some Hollandaise over the top. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Garnish with the chopped chives and serve at once.
    Garnish with the chopped chives and serve at once. (Wendy Goodfriend)

Author

Kim Laidlaw

Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. She has over 16 years of experience in book and online publishing, and a lifetime of experience in the kitchen.

Her first cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, was published in 2011; her second cookbook, Baby & Toddler On the Go, was published in April 2013; and her third cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, was published in October 2013.

She was the first blogger on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog, which launched in 2005, and previously worked as a professional baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, CA. She lives in Petaluma with her husband and their child, whom she cooks for everyday. Find out more at http://www.kimlaidlaw.com.

Author

Wendy Goodfriend

I am the Senior Interactive Producer for KQED Food. I have designed and produced food-related websites and blogs for KQED including Bay Area Bites; Check, Please! Bay Area;  Taste This; Jacques Pepin's websites; Weir Cooking in the City and KQED Food. When I am not creating and managing food websites I am taking photos and video of Bay Area Life and designing online navigation systems. My professional education and training includes: clinical psychology, photography, commercial cooking, web design, information architecture and UX. You can find me engaged in social media on Twitter @bayareabites and on Facebook at Bay Area Bites. I can also be found photoblogging at look2remember.