Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Eggs Californian

Eggs Californian:

Not Eggs Benedict 

So I searched the net looking for this combination of ingredients and Eggs Californian was the match I found. Which totally sucks because really I wanted to call it Eggs Fuentes. Yes. Vanity is my prison. But alas, some other shbag named it before me. Shbag, you ask? Ok. Definition: Shbag - the second syllable of douchebag. You see, everyone says "douchebag" to describe an undesirable person. Personally, I find the term itself it rather undesirable. Hence, instead of calling someone a douche, which is both trashy and cliche, I choose to call them "shbags". Same thing, just cooler. It's a thing. You heard it here first. Spread the word. My hope is that 5 years from now some road-rager rolls down his window, shakes his fist at me and screams "You Shbag!!!" Then and only then will I know that I have truly accomplished something great. 

Eggs Californian is a derivation of the more common Eggs Benedict. As per Wikipedia, there are two conflicting stories behind the creation of this dish, Eggs Benedict in particular. Story A: Some shbag (see how it flows?) named Lemuel Benedict claimed that he had went into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 hoping to find a cure for his morning hangover. So he ordered "buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of Hollandaise". A hooker of Hollandaise? What the Hell is that? Story B: This other shbag they called Pope Benedict XIII really dug this dish and he ordered it all the time. Kind of a lame story. Anticlimactic, as it were. (Am I gonna get Sinead O'Conner lash back on this post?...I hope not)

This recipe is an easy one. Everyone always says that Hollandaise is somewhat difficult to make. No it's not. It's easy. The only key is attention. If you just pay attention, you'll do well. And as with anything, you need a pinch desire. If you desire to do well, you will. Whether it's Eggs Benedict, Eggs Californian, or Eggs Fuentes, you gotta "love" it. If you don't, failure is eminent. If you do, success is almost unavoidable. So pay attention. Got it? Good.

The recipe for the Hollandaise sauce I stole from Tyler Florence. Most recipes for this sauce are pretty similar. Hollandaise is a simple sauce with few ingredients. So there's not too much room to move ingredient-wise. This one is straight forward and it's tasty. You can play around with adding a dash Worchestershire sauce, Tobasco, etc. But sometimes, simpler is better. I admit, many moons ago when I was first learning to cook, I used to overcomplicate recipes thinking it would add "complexity". Sometimes it worked. Most of the time, it didn't. So don't overcomplicate it. This is definitely one that doesn't need it.  

Most Eggs Benedict / Californian type dishes will call for English muffins as the bread of choice but a friend of mine told me she'd recently had it in a restaurant over focaccia. That really intrigued me so I used focaccia in this dish. However, I think the place I bought the bread from just used ciabatta dough and made focaccia from it. As a result, my wife, a.k.a The Royal Taster, pointed out to me that it was a little tough to cut through and didn't soak up the Hollandaise quite as well an English muffin would have. I had to agree with her. On the other hand, the focaccia did add a nice flavor element that the English muffin didn't. In the end, it's up to you. Both have their ups and downs. Or maybe I just need to find a better focaccia next time. 

Eggs Californian


  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 4 (or more) slices of tomato (I like to use Romas which usually require 2 thin slices per muffin half)
  • 2 English muffins OR 2 muffin-sized pieces of focaccia bread
  • chives, for garnish (optional - I had them in my garden so I figured what the heck)  


To make the sauce:

1. Place your butter in a bowl and microwave it for about 45 seconds until it's just melted. You don't want it boiling hot, just melted. 

2. Vigorously whisk the eggs yolks with the lemon juice in a stainless steel mixing bowl until the mixture is doubled in volume, about 3-4 minutes. 

3. Place the bowl with the egg mixture over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl isn't touching the water as this will scramble your eggs. Continue to whisk the eggs rapidly being careful not to let the bowl get too hot, as again, your eggs will scramble. If you feel it's getting too hot, simply lift the bowl off the saucepan and allow to cool for a few seconds.

4. Slowly pour your butter into the egg mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, all the while continuing to whisk the mixture until it thickened and doubled in volume. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Keep warm until you're ready to serve. However, don't make the sauce too soon in advance. You really want to serve this sauce as soon as possible so poach your eggs, plate and serve immediately afterwards.

To poach the eggs:

1. To poach the eggs, I always just use the same simmering water that was used under the mixing bowl with the Hollandaise sauce. Add the vinegar to the water and stir gently to mix. You want to add your eggs as gently as possible to avoid excessive spreading of the whites. This is what the vinegar does, it helps to coagulate the whites quickly to minimize that. I strongly recommend placing each egg in a very small bowl and gently dropping them in one at a time as close to the water level as you can get it. I usually just dip the lip of the bowl right into the water and drop them in that way. You can then use a slotted spoon to very gently pull the white inwards toward the yolk if that helps. 

2. Let the eggs poach for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes but no longer. If you do, your yolks will harden and that won't be good. You want the whites cooked through but you want those yolks nice and runny. Use your slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the pot one at a time. You can very gently drop the eggs onto a paper towel to remove and discard the ugly bits of the whites.

3. Slice your English muffin or focaccia into two halves and toast. Place them on your plate and top with the avocado and tomato. Then place one poached egg on each half. Finally, drizzle your Hollandaise over the top and serve immediately.   

Serves: 2


  1. Nice job with the poaching, Justin. This looks really good. Question, for my edification, I though vegan meant NO ANIMAL products at all, including eggs. Is this just a matter of choice?

    1. Hey TLC, You are correct that vegans don't eat any animal products. However, I am what is referred to as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. That means I don't eat any meat, fish, or poultry but I still do eat eggs and diary products. There are varying degrees of vegetarianism including vegan but that's not me (yet).