If I had to rank mealtimes in order of my love for them, breakfast would always place last. It seems unreasonable for someone who consistently ranks second breakfast near the top of the list, but I’ve never been accused of being reasonable. I wake up in the morning and feel nothing: no hunger pangs, no desire to jumpstart my metabolism with a bowl of oatmeal or scrambled eggs, nothing but the pressing desire to drink all of the coffee. Like, all of it. The minute you reschedule breakfast for a more reasonable hour, however, add a cocktail, and christen brunch, I’m all in. ALL IN! Now imagine my devastation when I moved to paradise and discovered that brunch had not yet come to Honolulu. In Hawaii, we like to joke that we get everything a few years late, so we’re right on track for Ariana Grande in 2018 (Is that even a topical reference? I seriously don’t know). When I got here, there were a few pancake houses and local diners serving up Hawaiian staples like loco mocos and Portuguese sausage omelets, but where were the slightly over-realized spaces with pour-over coffee menus, cutesy interpretations of the bloody mary, and dudes with knit caps as far as the eye can see? Yes, these places often reek of pretension and take themselves too seriously, but they also reek of five kinds of Eggs Benedict. Think of the Benedicts!!
Since those early dark days, brunch is starting to peek out of the trendier neighborhoods of Honolulu, and all I have to say is, “too little, too late, Chinatown!” I taught myself how to make Eggs Benedict, and I would be willing to pit my hollandaise against any of the most seasoned brunch makers. This recipe in particular is the first I attempted when making Eggs Benedict and holds a special place in my heart. I harbor a glutton’s love for pork belly because it’s like fancy bacon. And in order to satisfy the small southern cook in me (somebody let her out!), I insisted Kyle whip up a biscuit for the base. A more traditional english muffin would of course suffice. Put it all together, and you have a brunch worth charging for, if you can get your friends to ante up. C’mon, y’all.
This one’s on me.
- 1 pound pork belly
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Place the pork belly in a greased baking dish, fat side up. Score the fat in criss-crosses with a sharp knife.
- Combine all the ingredients except the pork belly and mix well.
- Spread mixture evenly over the pork belly.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until pork belly is done.
- 8 fresh, large eggs
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- Bring water and vinegar to a boil.
- Stir the water in one direction and add one cracked egg while the water is still moving in a circular direction. Cook the egg for 2-3 minutes if poaching soft. If you prefer a firmer poach, leave in for an additional 2 minutes. Cook the eggs one at a time.
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp Sriracha, or pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
- Bring a small saucepan to a simmer.
- In a separate glass bowl, one that fits over the saucepan without touching the water, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of the lemon juice together until it thickens slightly. Do not yet place bowl over the water.
- Separately melt butter in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Skim the white part of the butter off the top and discard. This is my lazy version of clarified butter. You could actually clarify the butter or opt for my version and skim. Set aside.
- Place the glass bowl with eggs over the lightly simmering water. I repeat, it should not be touching the water, nor should the water be at a full boil.
- Whisk the eggs for approximately one minute, or until the eggs have slightly warmed. This tempers the eggs to avoid scrambling, so if you are concerned, you can remove the glass bowl from the heat at any point to keep it from getting too hot.
- Slowly add the melted butter into the eggs, emulsifying them. I add about 3 tbsp at a time, whisking, and then add some more.
- Once fully added, whisk over the heat until the mixture thickens. If the mixture gets too thick, you can add a tbsp or two of hot water to thin it out a bit.
- Remove from heat and add the Sriracha/cayenne.
- Add extra lemon juice and salt to taste. I love my hollandaise with lemon, so I always add that extra tbsp.
- 3-4 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- In a small sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat.
- Once hot, turn the heat to medium and add the shallots, separating them from each other as you add or with a spoon once in the pan.
- Cook approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
- Remove shallots and place on paper towel, allowing them to cool and crisp up.
Assembling the Eggs Benedict: Take one buttermilk biscuit, whole or cut in half. Place pork belly slices on each half, and then a poached egg on top. Drizzle the hollandaise over the top and garnish with crispy shallots and cilantro if desired.