Thursday, November 12, 2009


There just isn’t anything as decadent as eggs Benedict.

It’s the dish you get when you are being treated like a queen. It’s breakfast in bed, late-morning brunch on Mother’s Day. It is the epitome of a celebration breakfast for my husband. We don't go out for breakfast often, but I know that if we do, he's probably going to have the classic leaning-tower-of-Pisa stack of english muffin, ham, egg and sauce. It’s not something you ever make at home, which is a shame, because it’s delicious.

But I think what scares many people away from making it, and some from even ordering it, is the hollandaise sauce. What is hollandaise after all? It isn’t something most of us encounter on a daily basis. A sublime French creation of egg yolks and butter, it’s daunting because a slowed whisk or an aggressive burner can turn it into a puddle of grease or a bowl of scrambled eggs without half trying.

And I am a giant wuss. I fear having a culinary meltdown. Because of this, I avoid it in favor of something everyone loves, an easy, cheesy sauce that looks every bit as impressive without the work.

Cheese is also a great way to sell a kid on, well, anything. A picky eater will grimace at the idea of a fancy French dish and a hoity-toity sauce. But cheese? Everyone loves cheese! And every pizza needs cheese. It's a perfect compromise.

1 pizza crust
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. milk
2 oz. cream cheese
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese or 2 oz. Velveeta
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper
½ pound Canadian bacon
8 poached eggs or 6-8 hard-boiled eggs
Parsley or tarragon for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

In a small saucepot, melt butter. Stir in flour. Add milk, whisking until combined. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Add cheddar or Velveeta, stirring until melted. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Spread over pizza crust.

In a skillet, fry bacon just until beginning to brown. Arrange over cheese sauce.

Now, for the eggs. For the most attractive presentation, slice the pizza, top each slice with a poached egg and garnish with herbs. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this one egg at a time, just use hard-boiled eggs. Slice and arrange over ham. Garnish the whole pie with herbs. This will be easiest if you arrange the egg slices in spokes, putting one spoke on each prospective slice.

Variation: Eggs Florentine – Omit Canadian bacon, replacing it with a layer of fresh baby spinach leaves.


Bacon, eh? – Don’t ask for Canadian bacon north of the border. In the provinces, what we call “Canadian” is simply known as back bacon. The most common kind of back up yonder is almost unknown in the U.S. Called “peameal,” it is cured in a sweet pickling brine before being rolled in cornmeal.

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