Egg Mcguffin (with asparagus, smoked salmon) and Mustard Sauce

Poached Eggs with Grilled Asparagus, Soked Salomon and Mustard SuaceFor the first of my recipes featuring mustard, I am doing  a sauce.

There are times in life when you want to start the day with a special meal. But unfortunately breakfast usually falls into 2 categories– A): dry, dull, tasteless and healthy, or B): crazy, stupidly, disgustingly fattening.

When we say we want to start the day with something special we usually mean the latter category.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

I know you love Eggs Benedict. 

Ham, and oozey gooey eggs, sitting on a buttery English muffin with loads of rich, fattening hollandaise sauce (filled with more eggs and butter).

But I am here to tell you a secret. You can enjoy a breakfast as special as Eggs Benedict without all the guilt.

All it takes is a little rethinking and retooling. You can make this dish lighter and healthier while at the same time making it modern and sophisticated.

egg yolksAnd it all starts with the sauce.

As I said this is a good alternative to a hollandaise. While, it’s true, there are 2 egg yolks in it. You only need a small dollop per person. This recipe makes enough for about 8 people. So that is 1/4 of an egg yolk each. 

Besides I believe saturated fat has gotten a bad rap and should be incorporated moderately into a healthy diet. It’s the poly-UN-saturated fats that are the evil little buggers giving good healthy fats a bad name. But I digress (as usual).

So let’s make this sauce and stop yammering on about it. Okay? Okay.

We are going to take 1 cup of white wine. Choose something fruity whipped soft peaks in a mustard sauceand not too dry. To that we are going to add 1/2 cup of a very mildly flavored vinegar. Rice vinegar is a good choice, but so is Champagne vinegar.

We will bring this to a simmer and gently reduce it to about 1/2 cup. Hold your horses, use a low flame and don’t rush this along. 

I know your BTUs are impressive but put them back in your pants. This is not the time to be pulling them out!

Transfer the reduced liquid to a double-boiler set over GENTLY simmering water. Whisk in the lightly beaten egg yolks. Continue whisking even after all the egg yolks are incorporated. This is (finally) the time to show off your manly prowess (or womanly prowess for that matter). Because you want to beat plenty of air into those eggs. 

grilled asparagus on a  burgandy lacancheAs the mixture cooks the bubbles you create will set, adding heft and volume to the sauce without butter or cream.

Eventually you will get a sauce that forms very light peaks. The perfect little bubbles should be consistent, uniform and noticeable.

At this point remove the sauce from the heat and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour it in a steady, slow stream using your sturdy rightie or leftie to whisk away all the while. I swear to you this takes 2 people (in my house at least). So rope in some friend you want to impress with your stamina.

Once all the olive oil is incorporated, whisk in the mustard. A creamy and flavorful traditional Dijon is best in the recipe (or so I rabidly believe).

a perfect poached egg is a thing of beautyThis sauce is best served immediately and warm, but it really does not suffer that much being made ahead and refrigerated.

Which only leaves you with asparagus to grill, and eggs to poach. I know you don’t need my help with those simple tasks so we will just move right along.

The last ingredient is very good smoked salmon. Lox will do in a pinch. But I like the Copper River Wild Salmon you can buy vacuum packed at certain times of the year.

Be as artistic and creative as you like with your plating. I used a little dill as garnish because it was handy. But can you imagine how nice savory or chervil might be? Red onion is pretty and a nice crisp counterpoint in texture. Smoked salmon always needs lemon, so don’t leave that off the plate either. 

poached eggs with hollandaise saucealternativeNow that is a special way to start the day!

And you know what? Go ahead and serve this with a nice buttery English muffin. You deserve it and this lean sauce lets you get away with it!


Greg Henry


Main Entry:   McGuffin
Part of Speech:   n
Definition:   in film, a plot device that has no specific meaning or purpose other than to advance the story; any situation that motivates the action of a film either artificially or substantively; also written MacGuffin
Etymology:   Alfred Hitchcock’s term, based on a story where this device was used in a story set on a Scottish train