Huevos Ricardos for Two
By Richard Jehn / The Rag Blog / April 17, 2009
These were exactly what I was aiming for today (for my original version, the date is 1 January 2001) – the texture of cornbread, the slight saltiness of prosciutto, and the depth of a good hollandaise, with a wonderful spicy flavour. Superbly different! Similar to Eggs Benedict, but not at all ….
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sift together the above ingredients, then add:
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Preheat oven to 425° F. Heavily butter a 4-inch by 8-inch baking dish by using a paper towel or plastic wrap to spread butter on the bottom and sides of the pan. The pan should be at least 2 inches deep. Pop it into the oven to make the butter sizzle.
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 small jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
Beat egg in a large measuring cup or a separate small bowl, then add oil, chile, and milk, mixing completely. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir together thoroughly.
Pour mixture into “sizzly” butter and bake at 425° F. for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove cornbread from dish immediately to a rack to cool. When cornbread is cooled enough, cut in half (about 4-inch square pieces, then slice into a total of 4 “slices of cornbread,” about 3/4-inch thick and 4 inches by 4 inches.
Prepare by putting 1-inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler and bringing to a light simmer. We actually used a small stainless steel bowl over simmering water.
3 egg yolks
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons cold water
Whisk egg yolks and cold water together thoroughly in the top portion of the double boiler. When mixed, place top of double boiler over simmering bottom and continue whisking. The yolks should thicken within 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add very slowly, while whisking constantly:
1/2 cup of warmed (NOT hot) clarified butter
3 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon morita chile powder or 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Place hollandaise mixture over bottom portion of double boiler, but be sure the heat is now turned to low. Add the spices and lemon juice, continuing to whisk until very smooth. Watch the sauce constantly, whisking to settle it, removing from heat if it gets too hot, or adding a tiny bit of warm water if it loses consistency (pro’s term it “if the sauce breaks”).
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
In a 4-quart pot, bring 3 inches (deep) of cold water to a simmer. Be certain that the water does not boil, but remains just simmering; add the vinegar after the water simmers. Using a teacup, crack one egg (one at a time) into the cup and add immediately, but slowly, to the simmering water.
Leave eggs until beginning to set, then gently loosen with a slotted spoon if sticking to pot. The 4 eggs will be cooked to perfection in about 6 or 7 minutes.
Hot tip from Bobby Flay’s sidekick, Jacqui Malouf: crack each egg into a soup ladle, lower the ladle into the simmering water, wait until the egg sets (10 to 15 seconds), then let each egg roll out of the ladle.
Building the Plates
2 plates, warmed a little in the oven
The 4 slices of cornbread
8 thin slices of prosciutto
The 4 poached eggs
The Hollandaise Sauce
Morita molida (best) or sweet Hungarian paprika
On each of two warmed plates, place 2 pieces of cornbread. Place 2 thin slices of prosciutto on each slice of cornbread, then carefully remove each egg from the simmering water, using a slotted spoon and allowing the eggs to drain, and place one each on your preparation. Top with hollandaise, a sprinkling of pepper, and a light sprinkle of ground morita chiles or paprika, depending on your personal preference.