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Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a dish usually served at breakfast. It starts with a lightly toasted English muffin. The muffin is topped with cooked bacon or Canadian bacon, and poached eggs. The dish is completed with a small amount of hollandaise sauce. Many variations on the dish exist. There are several stories about the origin of Eggs Benedict.

Origin

There are several stories about how Eggs Benedict started.

There have been many “Benedicts” who have tried to claim credit for the invention of the dish, but they are all frauds. A “benedict” was slang for a newly married gent who had been single for a very long time. Many of these"benedict" did not take well to married life and often sought refuge of strange beds and bedfellows. It is for them that the dish was named.

In an interview in The New Yorker magazine in 1942, Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stock broker, said that he had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and, hoping to find a cure for his morning hangover, ordered "buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise." Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel, was so impressed with the dish that he put it on the breakfast and luncheon menus but substituted ham and a toasted English muffin for the bacon and toast.

Craig Claiborne, in September 1967, wrote a column in The New York Times Magazine about a letter he had received from Edward P. Montgomery, an American living in France. In it, Montgomery related that the dish was created by Commodore E.C. Benedict, a banker and yachtsman, who died in 1920 at the age of 86. Montgomery also included a recipe for eggs Benedict, stating that the recipe had been given to him by his mother, who had received it from her brother, who was a friend of the Commodore.

Mabel C. Butler of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts in a November 1967 letter printed in The New York Times Magazine responded to Montgomery's claim by correcting that the "true story, well known to the relations of Mrs. Le Grand Benedict", of whom she was one, was:

Mr. and Mrs. Benedict, when they lived in New York around the turn of the century, dined every Saturday at Delmonico's. One day Mrs. Benedict said to the maitre d'hotel, "Haven't you anything new or different to suggest?" On his reply that he would like to hear something from her, she suggested poached eggs on toasted English muffins with a thin slice of ham, hollandaise sauce and a truffle on top.

Variations

  • Eggs Blackstone substitutes ham for the bacon and adds a tomato slice.
  • Eggs Florentine substitutes spinach for the ham.
  • Eggs Hussarde substitutes Holland rusks for the English muffin and adds Marchand de Vin sauce.
  • Eggs Neptune or Crab Benedict substitutes crabmeat for the ham.
  • Artichoke Benedict replaces the English muffin with a hollowed artichoke.
  • Country Benedict, sometimes known as Eggs Beauregard, replaces the English muffin, ham and hollandaise sauce with a biscuit, sausage patties, and country gravy. The poached eggs are replaced with eggs fried to choice.
  • Irish Benedict replaces the ham with corned beef hash
  • French Benedict replaces the English Muffin with French Toast.

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