Eggs Benedict is one of the most popular American dishes for those seeking a hearty breakfast. It tastes rich, lemony buttery, and creamy (all thanks to the Hollandaise sauce it is topped with), and it is also quite easy to cook, making it an ideal dish for those who have busy mornings.
It is certainly among the most classic menu items in every restaurant today. But there was a time when the world was unaware of this scrumptious delicacy. So, how did we get blessed with this dish that makes Sunday brunch wholesome? Who invented eggs benedict and when?
It would not be wrong to say that there are quite a few competing (and stirring) stories circling the invention.
Was it the ask of Mrs. LeGrand Benedict for something new, Lemuel Benedict’s search for a hangover cure, or Commodore E.C. Benedict’s personal taste that led to the invention of this brunch favorite?
We know you are all looking for that one story of eggs benedict. We won’t keep you waiting. Without further ado, let’s dive right into the theories that have taken birth of eggs Benedict’s history and unravel the mystery behind the invention of the classic dish.
Who Should We Thank For Eggs Benedict? The Eggs Benedict History
There are a few compelling stories when it comes to the history of Eggs Benedict as a lot of people want to take credit for inventing this dish. A lot of epicureans have given credit to different people for inventing this dish.
The Delmonico’s Restaurant Theory
This story goes back to the 1860s. Legend has it that there was a lady, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, who dined at the Delmonico’s restaurant frequently, slowly started growing tired of the menu. She wanted something new for her lunch and discussed the same with Charles Ranhofer, a noted chef at the restaurant. The chef created the Eggs Benedict to address her desire.
As far as the restaurant goes, almost 200 years ago, Delmonico’s Restaurant first came into being. It was built in 1837 by the Delmonico brothers, who were Swiss-born. They bragged of their restaurant as being the first in the world to be called a restaurant and the first to use printed menus. They also took credit for being the first one to hire women. They were a pretty popular place to go, and their Eggs Benedict got rave reviews from the people that visited them to eat their cuisine. For many people, it became a place that they looked forward to when they frequented the place.
Charles Ranhofer’s newly invented recipe was written up in a cookbook called the Epicurean about 120 years ago. This cookbook helped other chefs learn how to make dishes to serve them in their places. It was first called Eggs à la Benedick but is now referred to as Eggs Benedict and served in restaurants worldwide. They found that their customers loved to have the option of ordering the dish from their breakfast and lunch menus, much to their surprise. Since it became so popular, they were happy with that, and they made lots of it for many satisfied customers.
A Hangover Cure
This story is set back in the year 1942, when a certain Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stockbroker, was wandering around the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and was hoping to find a cure for his morning hangover, as he told in an interview recorded in the ‘Talk of the Town’ column in The New Yorker. He ordered a combination of ‘buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and hollandaise sauce.’ Head Chef Oscar Tschirky was so impressed with this mix of elements and imagined how popular Eggs Benedict could get. Subsequently, he added this recipe to his breakfast and lunch menus. But he did it with a Tschirky twist. In his menu, the Canadian bacon was substituted with a salty, crispy bacon and layered English muffin in place of buttered toast, giving it the name Eggs Benedict.
Another interesting fact about Tschirky is that he was the one who blessed us all with the invention of the most delectable Waldorf salad, a crunchy salad primarily made with nuts and fruits. This fact certainly does make this story of who were Eggs Benedict named after a little more legit for us.
Pass The Parcel
Back in 1967, there was an article published in a column in The New York Times Magazine by Craig Claiborne. The article talked about the story of Eggs Benedict, covering the history and origin of this breakfast dish. Craig wrote in the article about a letter he received from Edward P. Montgomery. Edward was an American but was living in France at the time he allegedly wrote the letter.
In the letter, Montgomery mentioned that Commodore Benedict created Eggs Benedict. As proof, he included the recipe of the dish in the talk that he received via his maternal uncle, who was then a friend of Commodore Benedict. However, the ingredients in the recipe are less common in the iterations that are found today. Even the Hollandaise sauce that was talked about had a different texture and method of cooking.
Being a New Yorker himself, there are chances that Commodore Benedict might have already tasted the dish in either of the restaurants mentioned above. The difference in the ingredients could be because of lack of availability or personal taste; no one can know because Commodore passed away at the age of 86 back in 1920.
So, in these stories, who was the one that finally won? Who got the credit for creating this wonderful delicacy?
Waldorf Story Takes First Place
Over time, the Waldorf story was the one that won out over the Delmonicos story. People believed what they read in the New York Times and the Smithsonian about Eggs Benedict and they were the ones that got most of the publicity.
When all is said and done, Waldorf-Astoria is the one that seems to own the Eggs Benedict and they fully rave about it. They had received the publicity that they wanted, and people really believed that the recipe was made in their restaurant instead of in Delmonicos.
As far as Commodore Benedict is being talked about, the facts that support the story perhaps seemed the weakest out of the three theories, given the lack of exact date and the death of the person concerned himself.
People Loved The Dish
Eggs Benedict became more and more popular. Other restaurants wanted to make it too. People started making it at home if they couldn’t afford to go to the restaurants. It was a food that caught on and took off in popularity. It was such a simple dish, but people loved it so much because it was a bit different than the other dishes. They found it refreshing to have Eggs Benedict when they went out or even when they were at their own home.
Make Your Own Eggs Benedict, Poached Eggs, & Hollandaise Sauce
Making Eggs Benedict is very easy and this is a recipe that is perfect for any special occasion. But make sure you plan well in advance.
Making Eggs Benedict requires a careful arrangement of things to achieve the desired result.
Ingredients for Eggs Benedict
- English muffin
- Canadian bacon or ham
- Perfectly poached eggs
- Hollandaise sauce.
Follow the instructions to make perfect Eggs Benedict:
- Cut the English muffins in half horizontally and toast them in butter until golden brown.
- In a large frying pan, cook ham or Canadian bacon slices until lightly brown and place them on each English muffin half.
- Top each of the English muffin halves with a perfectly poached egg.
- Then, using a spoon, put a warm, creamy, and unbroken Hollandaise sauce, all almost at the same time.
- You can additionally garnish with a small parsley sprig and chopped chives.
Your Classic Eggs Benedict is ready to enjoy!
Today, people make it all the time when they are in the mood for something that is good and simple. As they make it over and over again, they perfect the recipe and can make it in no time at all.
If you are not too sure about your recipes of different elements, such as poached eggs or Hollandaise sauce, worry not. We got you covered.
Poached Eggs – Best Low-Calorie Eggs
Poached eggs are beautiful. Poaching a perfect egg is an art, not everyone can poach a perfect egg. It’s difficult to get that perfect, spherical shape without white wispy. Perfectly poached eggs are healthy and are the best low-calorie eggs.
Below is the process to poach an egg perfectly:
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is to use the freshest eggs possible. Fresh eggs hold their spherical shape better as they have firmer whites.
- Take a large pot with at least 4 inches of water, bring it to a boil, and then lower the flame or turn off the heat.
- Crack the egg in a fine-mesh sieve to remove the white liquid.
- Transfer the egg to a small ramekin bowl. Using a ramekin will ensure that the egg is properly cracked with an unbroken yolk. You can pour the egg easily in one quick move.
- Add one tablespoon of light-colored vinegar to the pot and stir generously to create a vortex. Creating a vortex will help in creating a more spherical shape as the egg white will wrap around itself.
- Pour the egg from the ramekin into the middle of the vortex and set a timer for 3 minutes. This will help in creating a firm white and runny yolk.
- After 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg. Dab the egg with a paper towel to remove excess water and immediately place the egg on an English muffin and ham to make a perfect Eggs Benedict.
Hollandaise sauce is a classic creamy sauce that is perfect for breakfast or brunch.
A lot of people think that creating a perfect Hollandaise sauce is difficult to make, but we would say you just need to understand the science behind it and you can create a life-changing thing for yourself that will complement almost all your dishes.
The recipe below is easy and will never fail.
Ingredients required for Hollandaise sauce:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Half cup melted butter
- Just a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Follow the instructions:
- Combine the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, and cayenne pepper into a blender and blend the mixture for 5 seconds.
- Melt the butter in the microwave for almost a minute and slowly pour the butter into the mixture as the blender is running.
- Your sauce is ready, pour it into a small bowl and enjoy with your meals.
All you have to do now is to layer them in the way mentioned above and you’ll have yourselves the most delicious meal of your day.
Over the years, the classic Eggs Benedict recipe has witnessed several iterations. While some have added a hint of spinach to the recipe, there are others who found smoked salmon to be a great addition to their dishes.
If you want to take your classic Eggs Benedict to the next level, there are a few ways you can certainly achieve that. Take a look at the different variants of the recipe below.
Other Known Variants Of Eggs Benedict Recipe
There are several versions of Eggs Benedict that exist, people are involved, changing, replacing components except for the Eggs:
- Classic Eggs Benedict: This is the classic recipe mentioned above that has gone unchanged.
- Eggs Florentine: In this recipe, the Canadian bacon gets replaced by creamy spinach simmered in butter.
- Eggs Royale: For Royale, the Canadian bacon gets replaced by smoked salmon. This dish with the seafood twist is quite popular in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.
- Eggs Sardou: Try replacing your Canadian bacon with the delicious buttered spinach, slow-cooked artichoke, and anchovies. It is heavenly.
- Eggs Neptune: Canadian bacon gets replaced by fresh crab meat. This version of Eggs Benedict is already popular in New England, the Gulf Coast, and Northern California.
- Eggs Cochon: To make this, replace the Canadian bacon with pork meat and the classic English muffin with buttermilk ‘biscuit’ to enhance the flavors.
The above Eggs Benedict variations or versions take the classic combination to a new level which is equally delicious.
Not only the bacon but there are also quite a lot of foodies that experiment with Hollandaise sauce too. Instead of the classic one, they use honey lime sauce or herbs and garlic hollandaise sauce, or even Avocado Hollandaise.
People Love Eggs Benedict
Overall the years that Eggs Benedict has been popular, and it’s been said that it’s because it’s so simple. It also has to do with the hollandaise sauce, which is a fat, egg yolk, and butter added to the dish that makes it taste so good, and people like to taste something good. People have always enjoyed a dish with some fat because of the great taste that they can get from it.
To wrap it up
People will eat Eggs Benedict now and in the future. It will never go out of the menus or homes. This dish has managed to make a place in the hearts of food lovers all across the globe.
As said before, once a person learns how to make it, they perfect it, and in no time at all they can make it for someone else and themselves. Restaurants still serve it too. Some people still go out on a morning trip just to get some Eggs Benedict so that they can enjoy it to the fullest extent. There are many people that just love it, and that won’t change anytime soon. Eggs Benedict is a dish that is here to stay for a long time.