Italian eggs Benedict takes the classic brunch dish up a notch with classic Italian ingredients!
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My favorite brunch order of all time is Eggs Benedict. It’s rich and decadent and irresistible. Give me a brunch menu with that on it and there’s a 95% chance I’m ordering it.
Living in Italy, though, I’ve fallen in love with so many of the favorite ingredients here. It’s not only that Canadian bacon or English muffins don’t exist here – I’d rather use bread made this morning and irresistible slices of pancetta! So now it’s become Italian eggs Benedict!
Speaking of pancetta, make sure you buy the kind that’s already cooked. The easiest way is to go to a deli counter and ask: you want it sliced thinly like you’d buy it if you were making a sandwich. Then, take two slices and lightly twist/tangle them together to give them a quick sear. The crispiness adds a great texture to every bite.
When it comes to making hollandaise sauce, don’t be intimidated! You can do this. Go slow on adding the butter the first time you make it, and after a couple of times you’ll whip it up in less than 10 minutes while poaching the eggs.
Fair warning: this meal makes a lot of dirty dishes. Each thing needs its own pan, which is probably why eggs benedict is usually a restaurant brunch dish. It also goes smoothest if you do it with a sous chef: if one person makes the hollandaise, the other can usually do all the other bits in that amount of time.
Pair with a green salad topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to keep the Italian theme and give the dish some much-needed acidity.
Timing is crucial to this one. I do the bread and meat first because they’ll heat back up with the Hollandaise on top. Meanwhile, the poached eggs will keep cooking if you leave them to sit too long, so best to do those last.
This recipe is for one serving, to make it simple for making as much as you need! Don’t forget to double it if you’re sharing. 😉
Crisping up the pancetta and grilling the ciabatta gives the dish a much-needed crunch under the runny egg!
Italian Eggs Benedict
- 2 slices ciabatta
- 1 oz pancetta sliced thin
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- First, toast or grill the ciabatta and set aside.
- Heat a skillet on medium. Twist or pile together a few slices of pancetta, then add to the hot skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. The goal is to crisp it up.
Make the hollandaise
- Combine egg yolks with 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Put the saucepan over very low heat and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and slightly thickened.
- Add the butter, ½ tbsp at a time. Whisk gently until just incorporated, then add the next one.
- Finish with 1 tbsp olive oil and lemon juice and leave on very low heat, stirring occasionally.
Poach the eggs
- Poach the eggs: fill a skillet or pan with 1 ½ inches of water. Heat to a simmer, then add white vinegar and 1 tsp salt.
- Crack an egg into a shallow bowl, give the heated water a swirl with a slotted spoon, then carefully tip the egg into the water.
- Allow it took about 3 minutes. When the whites are done, remove to a paper towel.
Finish the Benedict
- On a clean plate, place your toasted bread. Rub with a piece of garlic, then drizzle with olive oil.
- Top with pancetta, then poached egg. Drizzle generously with hollandaise and eat immediately!