Monday, October 29, 2012

Eggs Hussarde (Classic New Orleans Breakfast)

I attended the Louisiana Book Festival this past weekend, which was coupled with gorgeous, brisk weather. I got to spend the day running into friends and exploring the State Capitol.

In addition to all that, I picked up a copy of Brennan's New Orleans Cookbook, published in 1961 and jam-packed with recipes from the historic New Orleans restaurant. I love old cookbooks, even if I frequently find myself gaping at the amounts of butter called for and clucking, "Okay, Mrs. Antoine Deshotels, maybe not THAT much."

This recipe I chose for this morning is essentially Eggs Benedict with the addition of marchand de vin sauce and a tomato slice.

The key here was timing, with making the sauces from scratch and poaching the eggs. I started with the marchand de vin sauce. My dad used to make this for beef tenderloin, and it's a rich, silky beaut of a sauce.

First I melted the butter (so much butter, so I cut down on it slightly), and then added the chopped mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, and ham.

I sauteed these for about 7 minutes, until the onions were golden-brown, and then I added in the two tablespoons of flour and Tony Chachere's seasoning (if this isn't available in your area, add salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne).

I let the mixture cook for another 8 or so, minutes, then added in the red wine and beef stock. I brought the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Normally this would be the time when I'd enjoy a glass of wine or watch something on TV, but it was 11:30 in the morning and I also had to get moving on the other components of the dish.

First the hollandaise sauce. I made a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with water, and heating it up to medium. Then I fitted a stainless steel bowl over the top of the pan and added the four separated egg yolks and lemon juice and beat them together lightly. I didn't want the water to come to a boil and cook the sauce too quickly, so I monitored the heat and kept it fairly low.

Then I added the butter (diced up so it would melt more easily) and stirred the sauce almost-constantly with a wooden spoon, adding the butter in chunks.

Once the butter was stirred in, I added salt and pepper and let it cook on low until the sauce had thickened.

Meanwhile, I heated up two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium skillet and added the Canadian bacon slices and asparagus, sprinkling them with Tony Chachere's.

I also filled a large saucepan with water and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar, then brought it to boil for the poached eggs.

The ham cooked for about three minutes on each side, and the asparagus cooked for about a minute longer than that. I set those aside and added in the tomato slices.

As the tomatoes cooked (about 3 - 4 minutes on each side), I took both the sauces off heat and set them to the side.

Then I began poaching the eggs, taking them one at a time. I cracked each egg into a measuring cup (1/2-cup size would be best), then brought the cup close to the surface of the water and poured the egg gently into the pan. Each egg took about 4 - 5 minutes to poach.

As each egg cooked, I compiled my ingredients into the final product, creating a little bed for the poached egg to nestle in once it was done.

First I placed a toasted English muffin (and a side of asparagus) on each plate.

Then I added the Canadian bacon.

Next came the marchand de vin sauce.

Then the browned tomato slice.

Then I carefully removed the poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon and placed it on top of the tomato.

Finally, I spooned hollandaise sauce over the egg.

Then I died of happiness.

Eggs Hussarde (Classic New Orleans Breakfast)
(ingredients listed serve 2, though each sauce creates more than enough for additional eggs, tomatoes, etc.)

2 English muffins, toasted
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 tomato slices
Tony Chachere's seasoning (or substitute mixture of salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder)
Marchand de vin sauce
Hollandaise sauce
1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Marchand de vin sauce
1 stick butter
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/3 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup minced ham
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's seasoning
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup beef stock

Hollandaise sauce 
4 egg yolks, separated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 sticks butter

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