One of my favorite breakfasts is a sunny-side up farm egg with bakery rye toast and a slice of smoked salmon on the side. There’s something so luxurious about the rich egg yolk against the silky lox. You can imagine my excitement the first time I discovered Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict at a brunch buffet. Served atop thick-sliced toasted brioche with lemony hollandaise, I was in heaven. Not to mention, full. Too full, in fact, to hit up the waffle station, which is a brunching “must” in my book. So, when I made the dish at home for a spring gathering with friends, I decided to swap out the bread for a savory herb waffle to fill the void. Bright, fresh, and elegant, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict with Dill Waffles combines some of the best flavors of brunch into a single plate!
I’ve talked in the past about how much I love savory waffles, especially served with eggs. The waffles’ crisp nooks (usually home to maple syrup) are the perfect vessel for catching drips of yolk. Plus, anything “waffled” is just plain fun! To make this recipe, I adapted my Beer-Raised Waffles with Cheddar and Scallions, substituting dill to pair with the smoked salmon, and using carbonated water (seltzer) instead of beer to help leaven and lighten the batter. The style of waffle iron you use for this recipe is totally up to you; these waffles are equally delicious cooked until golden in a thinner, “classic” maker as they are Belgian-style. Classic-style waffles will tend to be crispier throughout, while the Belgian will yield crisp exteriors with fluffier-textured centers. I also enjoy these Dill Waffles (especially the thinner ones) topped with shrimp or chicken salad, or lightly-dressed spring greens for lunch. Delicious!
Egg poaching is a wonderful technique to master, whether serving breakfast for one or for your whole family. It’s important to keep the poaching water at a gentle, but steady simmer. A rolling boil, such as you would use to cook pasta, is too rough for the delicate egg whites. I like to crack the eggs into a dry measuring cup (with handle) to easily slide them into the water. I’ve never had consistent results with the popular “vortex” method of swirling the water with the handle of a wooden spoon before dropping in the eggs, but I do know cooks who swear by it, so it’s worth experimenting to find what works best for you! Freshness of the egg is also key. The freshest possible eggs coagulate the most easily and neatly, though, I always do help the process along a bit by adding a splash of white vinegar to the water. This is the perfect time for a trip to the farm market, if you have one available to you. I like my eggs poached for about 3 minutes, so that the whites are set and tender, but the yolks are fluid.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict would be a great addition to any spring brunch, especially for Easter or Mother’s Day. In terms of planning, make the waffles first and hold them in a low oven to keep warm and crisp as you prepare the eggs and hollandaise. (A helper in the kitchen is a bonus as you make the various components, but this recipe is definitely “doable” alone.) The sauce should be the last thing you prepare, just before plating and serving to your seated guests. Happy brunching!
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