Here’s the Deconstructing the Dish recipe from City Oyster’s Dennis Teixiera.
Hot-Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Dennis Teixeira, executive chef, City Oyster
Could brunch exist without eggs Benedict?
Probably. But it wouldn’t be the same. There’s something about the classic combination of ingredients—chewy English muffin, salty-smoky ham, molten poached egg, buttery hollandaise—that speaks to the kind of sinfully indulgent luxury that brunch is ultimately all about. No one’s in a hurry, and you can always go home and take a nap.
At City Oyster in downtown Delray (213 E. Atlantic Ave., 561/272-0220), they dish up an inventive riff on classic eggs benedict, substituting a flaky buttermilk biscuit for the English muffin and house-smoked salmon for the ham. The poached egg and the hollandaise? Well, some things just can’t be improved upon.
Fire it up: If you have a gas or charcoal barbecue, you can smoke your own salmon. Build a low fire on one side of the grill, then add a handful or two of wood chips soaked in water. Place the salmon on the side of the grill opposite the fire and cover. Teixeira smokes his salmon for just under two hours at 175 degrees, but you can smoke it for less time at 200 to 225 degrees.
Kitchen secret, part I: Always add vinegar to the egg-poaching water. It helps the white coagulate quicker so you don’t overcook the eggs.
Only the best: Use the highest quality salmon you can find. At City Oyster they use Loch Duart salmon, a hormone- and antibiotic-free farmed salmon from Scotland. If you can find wild salmon, get it. Captain Frank’s in Boynton Beach and Cod & Capers in North Palm Beach are excellent sources.
Kitchen secret, part II: One way to tell when your hollandaise is ready is that it falls in thick ribbons from your whisk. And don’t forget to give it a taste and adjust seasonings if necessary before serving.
Flavor blast: If you want to add a little extra flavor to your eggs Benedict, Teixeira says try garnishing it with a little fresh, not dried, dill. Dill “really goes well with the salmon,” he says.
(At City Oyster, Teixeira and his crew make every element of this dish in-house but you achieve almost the same result by purchasing quality products at your local supermarket.)
4 buttermilk biscuits
8 slices hot-smoked salmon (not lox)
3 egg yolks
1 T. water
12 T. butter
1 T. lemon juice
Salt, white pepper and Tabasco to taste
For hollandaise: In the bottom half of a double boiler or a small saucepan heat an inch or so of water until simmering. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan and keep warm. In the top half of a double boiler or mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks and water for one or two minutes, then place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk again until the mixture thickens and becomes pale, removing the bowl from the heat if the eggs seem to be scrambling.
When the egg-water mixture is ready, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. If you add the butter too fast the sauce will break or the eggs with scramble. When the sauce is thick and creamy, add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and Tabasco and whisk briefly to combine. Keep hollandaise warm.
For poached eggs: Fill a saucepan with one inch of water and two teaspoons of white vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer. Crack each egg into teacup and slice them one by one into the simmering water. Cover the saucepan, turn off the heat and wait four to five minutes for the eggs to cook. The whites should be cooked by the yolk should be golden and runny. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
To assemble: Slice each biscuit in half and place on plates. Top with smoked salmon slice and poached egg and cover with hollandaise. City Oyster serves theirs with a salad of fresh fruit.