Sunday, January 13, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham

There's hardly anything nicer than waking up late on a Saturday morning, soaking in the bubble bath for an hour, and then heading into the city for a leisurely brunch. In Tirana we had two choices for brunch, until last week when one restaurant decided to stop offering their version. The Big P always orders Eggs Benedict- always. Of course living in Albania means that you have to adjust your idea of what Eggs Benedict is. It's quite a simple recipe composed of poached eggs, sliced ham, an english muffin, all topped with hollandaise sauce. The combination is truly delicious and one of P's comfort foods.

At both restaurants they do a good job at replicating the recipe although they both serve it on a hamburger bun because english muffins are just not available here. Now they could try making their own muffins since they're really not difficult to do, but we're okay with the buns. However a couple of weeks ago we were presented with this plate of eggs:

I looked across the table at P's plate and gulped. The eggs were covered in a weird GREEN sauce, not the lovely soft yellow sauce which should be on them. No, the sauce was definitely green and sort of glowing. P just shrugged and said he'd eat them, but I motioned to the waiter to come over. I smiled and asked him why the eggs were green and he looked at them and said he'd ask the cook.

A minute later he came back to the table and said "The cook said he used a different butter."

"Hummmmm" I replied. "A different butter? Really? Ok."

I wondered what kind of butter is GREEN??????

And then it dawned on me! The cook must have used a very fresh Albanian OLIVE OIL in place of butter!! We get some very tasty local olive oil and it is always a deep green colour. The sauce actually tasted fine but it looked truly weird!

Another case of a creative Albanian solution!

So now for those of you who would like to try cooking your own Eggs Benedict here's my recipe:


1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar

8 eggs

4 English muffins

8 oz (250 g) thinly sliced Black Forest ham

Hollandaise Sauce:

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted

2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

Hollandaise Sauce:

In heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water, whisk egg yolks until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, 2 tbsp (25 mL) at a time, until thickened; whisk in lemon juice, salt and cayenne. Keep warm over hot water.

Pour enough boiling water into skillet to come 3 inches (8 cm) up side; return to boil. Add vinegar; reduce heat to gentle simmer. Break each egg into small dish; gently slip into simmering water. Cook until desired doneness, about 5 minutes for soft yolks and firm whites. Remove with slotted spoon and drain well, patting bottom of spoon with towel to dry egg.
Meanwhile, cut muffins horizontally in half and toast; place 2 halves, cut side up, on each plate. Top each with ham, poached egg and 2 tbsp (25 mL) Hollandaise Sauce.

Makes 4 servings.


eni said...

gosh seems yummy..loved it..are you joining us in our flickr meeting dear Kim

Lynda said...

Hmmmm my all time fave breakfast... so perfect when they get it right - and a nightmare when they don't. Not sure about the green olive oil..