This Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon is a twist on the classic and the ultimate brunch for two. Move over bacon and enjoy a toasted English muffin, topped with a schmear of cream cheese, smoked salmon, perfectly poached eggs, spicy red onions, salty capers and a fool proof lemony hollandaise ladled over the top – healthy, indulgent, and delicious!
Looking for a Mother’s Day brunch recipe? Look no further. This is so delicious, healthy and easy to make for two or just as easy to scale up when the family gathers.
Eggs Benedict is really two recipes in one: perfectly poached eggs and a lemony hollandaise sauce.
Poaching eggs can be intimidating – trying to achieve silky yet firm whites with a soft runny center is easier than you think. All you need is a saucepan, boiling water, vinegar, salt and about 5 minutes.
What about the hollandaise sauce? First, I have absolutely no problem using packaged hollandaise sauce mix where you add milk and butter. But once you make this foolproof hollandaise you may never go back to the stuff in a packet again.
Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to perfectly poach an egg and to make a foolproof hollandaise sauce.
Traditionally Eggs Benedict is made with toasted English Muffins, for this recipe consider using bagels. Here is what you will need:
- bagels or English muffins – You can easily substitute bagels for English muffins. Bays English Muffins are a favorite in our household because of their fresh, buttery flavor and firm texture. Once toasted, you will find the right amount of crisp edges with a soft and chewy interior. Bays can be found in the dairy case of your local grocery store.
- cream cheese
- smoked salmon
- red onion
- Hollandaise sauce – for this recipe you can use a hollandaise sauce packet or try this foolproof hollandaise that will be sure to convince you never to use a sauce mix again.
To Make a foolproof hollandaise sauce, you will need a double-boiler set up (heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl set over a saucepan), plus the following ingredients:
- Egg Yolks
- Boiling water
- Lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
Note: ingredient measurements are found in the recipe card below.
How to make a foolproof hollandaise
Cooking for two? This foolproof hollandaise sauce recipe whisks butter and egg yolks together using indirect heat giving you more control as you whisk the eggs, allowing them to thicken not curdle.
Use indirect heat (a double boiler set up). Whisk the butter and egg yolks in a heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl set over a saucepan filled with ½ inch of simmering water. Mixing the yolks with butter creates a strong emulsion that is less likely to break while cooking.
Pro tip: Use the right bowl. A heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl is thicker and slower to heat. A stainless-steel bowl will get hot too quickly making it almost impossible to keep the yolks from curdling.
Add boiling water. While whisking the yolk mixture slowly add boiling water. Adding a lot of hot water makes the sauce less likely to “break” or separate, curdling can happen if the yolk mixture is too dry. The result is a sauce that can be chilled and reheated!
Pro Tip: Whisk wisely. I have found that whisking by hand versus a blender or handheld mixer gives you the best feel for when the sauce starts to thicken. A side-to-side motion instead of stirring or beating allows the best aggressive whisking.
Heat sauce until the instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove the sauce pan from the heat, keeping the bowl over the water bath and whisk in lemon juice, cayenne and salt to taste. Cover to keep warm.
Reheating and storing hollandaise sauce
The technique of whisking together butter and eggs creates a stronger emulsion resulting in a sauce that is more stable and less likely to break, holding nicely for up to an hour. It can also be refrigerated for up to three days and then heated in the microwave without breaking.
The trick to reheating hollandaise sauce is to use the microwave and warm it gradually at 50 percent power, stirring it every 10 seconds until warm.
How to perfectly poach eggs
Poaching eggs in a shallow skillet rather than a sauce pan makes it easier to spoon them out of the water. Putting the eggs into 2 teacups and gently pouring the eggs into the boiling water is a handy trick to get all the eggs in the pan at once, cooking at the same rate. Finish poaching the eggs off the heat to keep egg whites intact with a soft and runny yolk.
Season the water. First, fill an 8-inch skillet with water up to the rim. Add vinegar and salt bringing the water to a rolling broil. Adding vinegar will help the egg whites set up with fewer wispy or floating white pieces in the skillet.
Add the eggs at one time. The easiest way to do this is to crack two eggs into each teacup. Gently and at the same time pour the eggs into the skillet. Allowing the eggs to enter the water at the same time will result in equal cooking time.
Remove from Heat and Poach. Cover the skillet, remove it from the heat and let the eggs gently steam until the whites are set but the yolks are still slightly runny.
Drain on paper-towels. This is really important, use a slotted spoon and transfer the eggs to a paper-lined plate The paper towel will soak up any excess moisture which prevents your muffins or bagels from getting soggy.
Pro tip: If this method for poaching eggs is intimidating feel free to use a egg poacher like this one creating perfectly shaped poached eggs.
Assembling eggs benedict
Once the eggs are poached and the hollandaise sauce is made it is time to start assembling.
- Broil Muffins. Broil the English muffins, side up, on a baking sheet until they are golden brown. Of course, if you are cooking for two and have a 4 slice toaster you can simply toast the English muffins.
- Slather each muffin half with cream cheese. Evenly, sprinkle finely diced red onion and a few capers onto the cream cheese, avoiding run away capers.
- Layer smoked salmon, poached egg and then ladle on the hollandaise sauce. Garnish with dill, extra capers and diced red onion.
- Make it a Benedict. Swapping out the smoked salmon for Canadian bacon makes this a traditional Benedict. After broiling the English muffins, place 1 slice of bacon on each half and heat in oven for 1 minute until warm and slightly browned. Now top with the poached egg and pour on the hollandaise. I like to sprinkle a bit of paprika as a garnish.
- Add slices of avocado. After placing schmear of cream cheese on each English muffin half, sprinkle with diced onion, layer the slices of avocado, then top with the poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Garnish with Paprika if desired.
Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royale all start with a toasted English muffin, have a poached egg, and are smothered with a warm, lemony Hollandaise sauce. Eggs Benedict will have a slice of Canadian bacon, while Eggs Royale will swap out the bacon for smoked salmon (salmon lox).
Yes. Make sure to use a large heat resistant glass or ceramic bowl. Tripling the recipe could get tricky and you will need to adjust your cooking times.
Yes. This recipe whisks together butter and yolks and then adds boiling water making it more stable and less likely to separate than other recipes. This sauce will hold together for about one hour. It stores nicely in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 10 seconds until warm.
Looking for more delicious brunch recipes for two? Try these:
- Make a simple salad tossed with Our Favorite Shallot Vinaigrette
- Add this hashbrown egg bake to your buffet table a recipe found on Monica's the solo spoon food blog.
Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon (for two)
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For Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon
- 2 English muffins cut in half, toasted, and still warm (or bagels)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 3 ounces smoked salmon salmon lox
- Red onion diced
- 2 ounces capers rinsed and drained
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- Hollandaise sauce purchased sauce packet – make only half the package. Or make your own hollandaise sauce included in this recipe card.
For foolproof hollandaise sauce:
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon boiling water
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- First, make the Hollandaise either following the packet instructions or make your own following the instructions below. Cooking for two? Use only half the sauce mix package, storing remaining contents in an airtight container for a future use.
Make foolproof hollandaise sauce:
- Place softened butter pieces and egg yolks in medium heat-¬resistant glass or ceramic bowl. Bring ½-inch water to simmer in medium saucepan. Set the bowl over the simmering water making sure that water does not touch bottom of bowl. Whisk the butter and egg yolks together using a side – to-side motion instead of stirring or beating. Keep whisking until the yolk mixture comes together and is smooth, about 1 minute.
- While whisking the yolk mixture slowly add boiling water. Adding a lot of hot water makes the sauce less likely to “break” or separate. Heat sauce until the instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the sauce pan from the heat, keeping the bowl over the water bath and whisk in lemon juice, cayenne and salt to taste. Cover to keep warm.
Poach the eggs.
- Fill an 8- inch skillet with water up to the rim. Add vinegar and salt bringing the water to a rolling broil. Adding vinegar will help the egg whites set up with fewer wispy or floating white pieces in the skillet.
- Crack two eggs into each teacup. Gently and at the same time pour the eggs into the skillet. Cover the skillet, remove from heat and let eggs gently steam until the whites are set but the yolks are still slightly runny. About 3 to 4 minutes. If you desire firmer eggs then simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Arrange English muffins split side up on baking sheet and broil until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Now, using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs from the poaching water to a paper-lined plate. The paper towel will soak up any excess moisture and prevent your muffins from becoming soggy.
- Slather each muffin half with cream cheese. Evenly, sprinkle finely diced red onion and a few capers onto the cream cheese. Layer smoked salmon and a poached egg. Ladle 1 – 2 Tablespoons of the hollandaise sauce over each egg. Garnish with dill, extra capers and diced red onion. Pass remaining hollandaise sauce.
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Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.