Thursday, July 07, 2005

Country Club Living

boat Virginia Beach, Virginia. I don't really get to experience the lifestyle of the rich and comfortable too often, and country club living is generally beyond my purvue. Nevertheless, during the 4th of July weekend, I was fortunate enough to partake of the lavish brunch at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club in Virginia Beach. As I ascended the curving staircase to the upper floor, I was greeted first by a spectacular floral display in the middle of a light, lovely room. Lining the walls were tables groaning with a diverse array of culinary delights. There were muffins, pastries, cakes, biscuits, fruit, sausage, bacon . . . there was an omlette station and crepe station . . . there was caviar, smoked salmon, bagels, and my very favorite breakfast food of all, eggs benedict. Most eggs benedict are disapointing; the eggs are usually rubbery and over-cooked with tasteless, bland hollandaise topping them. I'd almost given up ordering them when I went out, assuming only what I prepared at home would be acceptable. The Cavalier (at long last!) proved me wrong by serving eggs benedict almost exactly how they should be. I must qualify with an "almost" because the thick, English muffin rounds (Wolferman's, no doubt) were soggy from soaking in excess hollandaise. Not altogether a bad thing, especially considering how perfectly creamy the eggs were poached, how ever so slightly crisp the ham was cooked, and how delectably smooth and lemony the hollandaise was. A little excess butter, after all, hardly offends the palate and I can, without qualification, pronounce these eggs benedict, the best I've had outside of my own kitchen. I've always relied on Julia Child for hollandaise. You'll find her (always perfect) recipe below. Hollandaise 3 egg yolks 2 TB lemon juice 1/4 tsp. salt Pinch of white pepper 1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted until bubbling hot Place egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Uncover, and still blending at high speed, start pouring in the hot butter by droplets. Allow time for the butter to absorb and emulsify with eggs. When about two thirds of the butter has been added, you can pick up the pace a little more. Makes about 3/4 cup. From The French Chef Cookbook

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