Smoked Ham Hock Eggs Benedict with Dill Hollandaise
For the ham hock:
- Smoked Ham Hock x 1 piece
- Fresh cracked black pepper
For the benedicts:
- Large free range eggs x 8
- English muffins, halved x 4 pieces
- White vinegar
For the hollandaise:
- Large free range eggs x 4
- Lemon juice x 20ml (and a little extra for seasoning)
- Melted butter x 1.5 lb
- Grana Padano Parmesan cheese (grated) x 1 cup
- Chopped fresh baby dill x ½ cup
For the Mixed Greens Salad
- Apple cider vinegar x ¼ cup
- Extra virgin olive oil x ¾ cup
- Mixed greens x ½ lb
- Fresh cracked black pepper
This recipe makes more than you will need for four people but it can be difficult to make less depending on the size of your blender. The left over hollandaise can be chilled in the fridge and is excellent spread over hot toast or brought to room temperature and used in a sandwich with any left over ham hock and few slices of tomato.
Bring a pot of water to a simmer that will comfortably hold 4 eggs. Simmer the 4 eggs in their shell for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and let them cool in bowl until you’re able to peel them. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it reaches 65 – 70 C on a thermometer. Place your cooked and peeled eggs, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of warm water and a pinch of salt into the blender. Run your blender on low speed to blend the ingredients. Transfer your melted butter to a liquid measuring jug for easy handling. While the blender is running begin pouring in the butter in a slow and thin stream, no larger than a pencil. Increase the speed of your blender as necessary to keep the liquid moving as it thickens. Once you have either used all your butter, or the mixture is nearly the thickness of ketchup, add your grated Parmesan, chopped fresh dill and blend until just incorporated. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste.
Salad dressing method:
Whisk together the apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
For the ham hock:
Place the ham hock in a tight fitting pot and add enough water to just cover. Bring the pot to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook on medium-low heat for about 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Alternatively you can use an ovenproof pot with its lid and cook the ham hock in the oven at 300 F overnight. Check it in the morning to ensure the meat is falling off the bone or place on the stove top to finish cooking.
Once the ham hock is finished cooking, allow it to cool in the cooking liquid until it is safe to handle but still warm. Carefully remove the ham hock from the pot and into a bowl. Shred the meat with two forks, discarding the skin and excess fat. Either use immediately or reserve some of the cooking liquid to help reheat at a later time. The cooking liquid is also delicious and is the perfect base for soups or a great substitution for almost any recipe that calls for a stock.
Poaching the eggs:
When it comes to poaching eggs, it can be difficult to manage many eggs at once depending on the size of your pot and your experience level. But there is a trick to comfortably manage your eggs and ensure all your diners are served hot eggs at the same time, pre-poaching. Poach all your eggs, to your preferred doneness, in batches that you are conformable with ahead of assembly time. When its time to serve the eggs, simply dip them back into the hot water for 20 seconds to re-heat.
To poach the eggs, choose a tall pot and fill it to about an inch or more below the rim with water. Season the water with a small pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every liter of water. Bring the pot to a very gentle simmer and lower your heat until just under a simmer. Crack your eggs into individual ramekins. Stir the water gently with a spoon to create a gentle current. Working in batches you are comfortable with, dip your eggs into the pot from just above the water level. Stir gently to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom and cook for approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds or until soft poached. If the egg begins to stick, gently stir the water around it to coax it off the bottom. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon onto a double layer of paper towel, or a kitchen towel, to drain.
Toast the English muffins lightly and arrange two halves on each plate. Top each muffin with warm ham hock, a poached egg and a generous amount of hollandaise. Dress your greens with the desired amount of vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.