Smoked Salmon Benedict

Our cousin Sandy lives in Kent, WA and brought us some smoked salmon made by her husband, Kirk. We all agreed that it was the best smoked salmon we had ever had. My first thought was, benedicts! This dish is not for the faint of heart.

Start with a toasted, buttered english muffin. Pile on some smoked salmon. Next comes a poached organic egg. Finally, a generous dollop of hollandaise sauce, with more on the side. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne and tear some italian parsley leaves. Yum!

Hollandaise Sauce

4 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
3 T tarragon vinegar
12 peppercorns
1-1/2 cup (3 sticks) melted butter
sea salt
ground cayenne pepper

Place a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water to make a double-boiler. Melt butter in a small saucepan and keep warm. Heat lemon juice in the microwave for 30 seconds. Using a small skillet, crush the peppercorns, put in the skillet with the vinegar and simmer on high heat until the vinegar has almost boiled off and thickens, to about a teaspoonful. Strain into the double boiler using a fine mesh sieve.

Place the egg yolks in the glass bowl and whisk until the yolks begin to thicken. Add the hot lemon juice and continue to whisk until the yolks begin to thicken again. Add the melted butter in a very thin stream and continue to whisk until all the butter is incorporated. The sauce should be thick enough so that it folds back onto itself from a spoon in ribbons. If it is too thick, whisk in some of the simmering water from the double boiler. Season with sea salt and a pinch of cayenne and serve immediately.

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