3 Canadian Chefs Share Unique Takes on Eggs Benedict
Looking for a new brunch recipe? We asked three leading Canadian chefs for their unique twist on Eggs Benedict. Photo: Courtesy of Chef Paul Lillakas
Eggs Benedict — always delicious. A new way to make them? Even more delicious. Spring has sprung and, along with it, comes a sense of renewal. So, why not reimagine a breakfast favourite with a new approach?
We’ve got secret recipes from three leading Canadian chefs, offering a creative twist on the beloved brunch classic.
So share the love, share the eggs, or just share the recipes. It’s also a way of continuing to support our local egg farmers.
Speaking of which, we asked the experts at the Egg Farmers of Canada to tell us why eggs are not just delicious, but also good for us.
- Eggs provide important nutrients including vitamins A, D and E, folate, iron, zinc and choline, which are good for bones, teeth, skin and eyes.
- One serving of eggs (2 eggs) provides 13 grams of protein.
- The high-quality protein in eggs helps to build and maintain muscle and to keep a healthy immune system at all stages of life.
- Eating eggs has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels and eggs can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner as part of a healthy diet.
- The newest research shows that you can eat eggs without increasing your risk for high blood cholesterol or heart disease.
Here, we take a cross-Canada tour, from Saskatoon to Halifax, with three Canadian chefs and their recipes.
BLT Eggs Benedict By Chef Craig Flinn
Flinn is a Halifax-based chef and author of four cookbooks. He apprenticed with fellow maritime chef Michael Smith in P.E.I., as well as at the Savoy Hotel in London, England. You can experience Flinn’s signature locally sourced, seasonal ingredients at his three restaurants, Chives Canadian Bistro, 2 Doors Down Food & Wine and its little sister, 2 Doors Down Bar & Bites. All three sit together on Barrington Street in downtown Halifax.
Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Combining the elements of a traditional BLT with hollandaise sauce and poached eggs, this recipe is perfect for lovers of both the classic sandwich and Eggs Benedict.
Poached Eggs and Garnish
¼ cup (60 mL) white vinegar
8 strips of thick cut, double smoked bacon
1 loaf of pullman-style brioche bread
¼ cup (60 mL) softened butter
A handful of fresh arugula leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh cut chives, finely sliced
Poach eight eggs. To poach eggs, fill a saucepan with about 3 inches (8 cm) of water and add a splash of vinegar. Heat the water until it gently simmers then break a cold egg into a small dish. Holding the dish just above the simmering water, gently slip the egg into the water. Repeat this step for remaining eggs. Cook the eggs in the simmering water until whites are set and yolks are cooked as desired, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain.
Lay the eight strips of bacon on a baking tray lined with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Roast in the same 425°F (218°C) oven as used for the tomatoes (see below) until golden and crispy about 6-7 minutes.
Slice the brioche into 1¼ inch (3 cm) thick pieces. Using a 3½ or 4-inch (10 cm) cookie cutter or ring mold, cut out rounds from the bread. This can also be done by trimming away the side crusts of the bread with a serrated knife.
Lightly butter each side of the bread rounds and pan-fry over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. When well browned and crispy on both sides, remove and set aside before assembly.
8 ripe campari tomatoes (about 1½ inches/4 cm in diameter)
1 tsp (5 mL) white sugar
½ tsp (2.5 mL) sea salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) black pepper
½ tsp (2.5 mL) dried basil
1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
Approx. 2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Cut the tomatoes in half through the middle and lay the halves in a single layer on a baking tray lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Make sure the cut halves are facing upwards.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, sea salt, black pepper, and dried basil. Sprinkle this dry mixture evenly over the tomato halves. Drizzle the red wine vinegar and olive oil over the tomatoes then add the grated parmesan cheese (optional).
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the tomatoes are slightly collapsed and have a lovely, slightly caramelized appearance. Depending on the actual size and ripeness, you may have to lengthen or shorten the roasting times by a few minutes. If using larger tomatoes, you can roast these for up to 30 minutes.
6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 2 ½ sticks (1 to 1 ¼ cups) of very soft unsalted butter
Sea salt to taste
2 tbsp (30 mL) canned chipotle pepper and adobo sauce
Place the egg yolks, water, and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk very well until slightly lightened in colour (about 90 seconds).
Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk continuously until the eggs begin to thicken. Watch them closely and remove from the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly. When the whisk leaves a clean line in the eggs, they are ready.
Off the heat, begin whisking in the very soft butter a tablespoon or so at a time. Whisking continuously, add more butter once the butter in the pan has emulsified into the eggs. When half the butter is gone and the sauce is looking smooth, you can increase the amount of butter you add. When the sauce is thick and has the consistency of mayonnaise, it is ready. Season with salt.
Remove the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce from the can and purée into a paste using either a handheld stick blender or a food processor. When smooth, add chipotle paste to the base hollandaise sauce. Set the finished hollandaise aside for assembly of the dish.
Warm four plates in the oven and place two rounds of brioche on each plate. Place several leaves of arugula on the bread, followed by a single, long piece of bacon. Place two halves of roasted tomatoes on each piece of bread, cut side up.
Carefully place a poached egg that has been reheated in the fresh water for 90 seconds on each portion, as per directions above. Place a heaping tablespoon of hollandaise sauce over each warm egg and garnish with a sprinkling of freshly cut chives. Serve immediately.
Puff Pastry Eggs Benedict By Chef Dale MacKay
MacKay has been doing his thing in his hometown of Saskatoon since 2013. Prior, he worked with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud. He also won Top Chef Canada, so we know he’s got the chops. His award-winning restaurant, Ayden Kitchen & Bar, continues to make culinary waves in the Prairies. And since opening that establishment, MacKay launched Grass Roots Restaurant Group and opened Little Grouse on the Prairies (Italian) and Sticks and Stones (Korean) in Saskatoon, along with Avenue Restaurant in Regina.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Spring for a beautiful brunch dish with this puff pastry Eggs Benedict recipe by Chef Dale MacKay. With puff pastry baskets, spinach grass, and nested poached eggs, this recipe is almost too cute to eat.
Puff Pastry Basket
2 8 x 10 inch (20 x 25 cm) sheets of puff pastry
Lay down fridge-cold puff pastry on a cutting board. Cut the puff pastry into four oval shapes using an oval shaped cutter. Using a knife, cut just the center out of two of the ovals, leaving a ½ inch (1.3 cm) border. Next, cut two ½ inch (1.3 cm) strips of pastry lengthwise down your sheet. In a bowl, crack the egg and add 1 tbsp of water and mix well.
Using a brush, brush egg over full ovals, then lay the cut-out ovals on top making sure the edges line up. Brush the border well with egg wash. Egg wash both sides of your ½ inch (1.3 cm) strips. Carefully twist the strip as you place it onto your border all the way around until it reconnects on the other side. Brush with egg wash one more time.
Place the ‘puff pastry baskets’ on a parchment-lined tray. Bake in a preheated convection oven at 375°F (190°C) for 20-22 minutes, until dark golden brown. Allow to cool after cooking.
⅓ cup (75 mL) white wine
⅓ cup (75 mL) white wine vinegar
¼ cup (60 mL) thinly sliced shallots
10 black peppercorns
10 coriander seeds
Place all reduction ingredients into a small pot on medium-high heat and reduce by 80 per cent. Strain and let cool until it’s time to make the sauce.
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 mL) hollandaise reduction
¾ cup (175 mL) clarified butter
A pinch of salt
Add egg yolks and reduction into a medium size glass or stainless steel bowl over a simmering pot of water that is only half full so that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk nonstop until mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.
Once egg mix is thick, take off the heat and start to whisk slowly in clarified butter so that it does not split. Whisk in all butter and a pinch of salt. If you are not using the sauce right away, cover it and place in a warm area to hold.
½ cup (125 mL) bacon, cut into ¼ inch (0.6 cm) pieces
¼ cup (60 mL) shallots, diced
2 cups (500 mL) spinach
4 soft poached eggs
¼ cup (60 mL) spinach, cut into matchsticks
In a large frying pan on medium heat cook bacon. Once the bacon is slightly crispy, add shallots and cook for 1 min.
Add spinach and toss until it’s all broken down. Remove from the pan and split it into the bottom of the pastry baskets.
To poach eggs, fill a saucepan with about 3 inches (8 cm) of water. Add a splash of vinegar. Heat the water until it gently simmers then break a cold egg into a small dish. Holding the dish just above the simmering water, gently slip the egg into the water. Repeat this step for remaining eggs. Cook the eggs in the simmering water until whites are set and yolks are cooked as desired, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain.
Next place two hot, soft poached eggs on top of the spinach mix in each basket, add hollandaise on top of your eggs.
Place cut raw spinach around the eggs and in the cracks to make it look like grass. Serve right away. If you have extra hollandaise serve on the side if desired.
Spring Sausage Eggs Benedict By Chef Paul Lillakas
This take on the classic Eggs Benedict by Chef Paul Lillakas features waffle iron hash browns, over easy eggs and breakfast sausage smothered in hollandaise sauce. Perfect for a spring brunch.
This recipe comes to us via Lillakas, who is an Ontario-based, Estonian-Canadian private chef and recipe developer. Lillakas considers himself a fireside gastronome with a penchant for foraging and collecting bacon fat. You may know him from his many appearances on TV and social media, but he’s also a Chopped Canada champion, a former food editor at Canadian Living and his celeb-cred CV includes a stint as former personal chef to the elusive Canadian DJ Deadmau5.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Waffled Hash Browns
2 cups (500 mL) frozen diced hash browns, thawed
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup (125 mL) shredded old cheddar cheese
¼ tsp (1.25 mL) salt
Preheat waffle iron.
In a bowl, combine hash browns, egg, green onions, cheddar cheese and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Spoon mixture into greased waffle iron and press until golden brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Cut the waffle into four portions.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp (5 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
Select a cup or glass cylinder that just fits the head of immersion (stick) blender. Combine egg yolks and water.
In a small pot, over medium heat, melt butter until simmering and no longer foaming, about 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to measuring glass with pouring spout. Insert immersion blender into bottom cup with egg yolks and start blending. With the blender running, slowly pour hot butter in until completely smooth and creamy.
Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Thin with additional water, if needed. Set aside or keep warm in 2 inches (5 cm) of warm tap water.
4 cooked breakfast sausages
Slice sausages lengthwise almost all the way through. In a greased non-stick skillet over medium heat, fry sausages, flipping once, until browned and crisp. Move to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Wipe pan clean, grease and cook eggs, flipping once until cooked but soft in the middle, about 2-3 minutes.
Top each waffle piece with sausage, egg and hollandaise sauce. Garnish with mixed microgreens.