Benedict’s Nest: a breakfast creation
Recipe comes first, then the story afterward in case you care. I’m not much of a food photographer, but damn was this good.
(serves 1; multiply as necessary)
- 1 thick slice of bread (white, sourdough, Italian)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Juice of 1/4 lemon or to taste (real fresh lemon, not that processed junk in a plastic bottle)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 avocado, sliced thin
- Small handful fresh spinach
- Cheddar cheese, grated
- Fresh dill
Throw a couple slices of butter in a pan on the stove on medium heat. While it’s melting, cut a circular hole in the middle of your slice of bread, roughly big enough to contain an egg. (How big the hole needs to be depends on the thickness of your bread; thicker bread means smaller diameter hole because there will be more volume in your hole. Hey, math!)
Once the butter is melted, make your egg in a nest. place both pieces of bread (the main slice with the hole and the circular piece you cut out) in the pan next to each other. Crack an egg (bird) into the hole (nest). Let it sit for about 3 minutes, until the bottom of the bread starts to turn a nice golden brown. Then flip it, and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. The goal here is to have the bread golden brown, but the egg yolk still runny if you were to cut into it.
While the bread and egg are pan-toasting, make a quick Hollandaise sauce in the microwave. Whisk the egg yolk in a microwave-safe glass bowl or jar with the lemon juice (be generous; I think this tastes better with plenty of lemon juice, which is key to keeping the dish bright and not too heavy) and a dash of salt and cayenne pepper. Keep whisking while slowly streaming in the melted butter. When you’re ready to serve (and not before), heat the mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before whisking again and pouring over the dish.
To serve, place large piece of bread (with egg in it) on plate; top with grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and fresh spinach. Place small circular piece of bread on top and drizzle Hollandaise sauce over the whole thing. Sprinkle fresh dill generously over everything and serve immediately.
Sometimes you feel like a hot breakfast, but you don’t want the same old plain eggs and bacon. At the same time, you have a ton of eggs that need to get used up, some delicious homemade bread that’s not going to last another day before it goes stale, some avocados at peak ripeness, and a huge amount of fresh dill because they only sell it in bunches about 100x larger than what you need for any one meal.
Such was the other morning, and thus with that assortment of “have to use it today” ingredients began an episode of Chopped in my kitchen. I didn’t really know where exactly I was going when I started this, other than that it would be based on the Bird in a Nest (take piece of bread, cut hole in it, crack egg into hole, fry in butter). Also known as Toad in a Hole, Eggy in a Basket…just go watch the Binging with Babish episode if you’re interested.
At any rate, after rummaging through the fridge, I came up with those ingredients and sort of wound up with a combination of egg-in-a-nest and might be loosely described as a California-style eggs Benedict. I loved it. The key really is to have plenty of lemon juice in the sauce; I made this again and didn’t put as much in the second time, and it wanted for more citrus to cut through the heavy butter-yolk combination.
Don’t skimp on the dill either! Fresh dill is amazing and it really puts the finishing touch on this dish.
Who taught you to cook?