Eggs Benedict with crisp prosciutto? You bet.
Pour Company in downtown Fullerton offers an inviting seasonal menu of American classics as interpreted by Nick Oberlin. As executive chef-partner, Oberlin puts his signature twists on everything from Mexican Shrimp Salad – napped with a Caesar dressing spiked with poblano chilies and Cotija cheese – to Smoked Pork Belly Sliders judiciously slathered with hoisin mayo.
When he visited my home kitchen to tape a video, he prepared Eggs Benedict, one of his favorite brunch dishes. His spin on traditional Benedict subs in oven-crisped prosciutto for the traditional ham or bacon. Prosciutto is amazing au naturel but roasting-until-crackly puts it over the top both in taste and texture. It’s the ultimate riff.
Ah, luscious potatoes, too.
(Just-right saltiness is derived from a judicious amount of soy sauce.)
The Hollandaise sauce that tops the poached eggs is amped with Dijon mustard, an addition that builds a just-right spark of spice and mild acidity. He accompanies the plated dish with fried potatoes that are sautéed along with cherry tomatoes and red onions. The salty element, soy sauce, is added towards the end of cooking and further seasoning with a blend of ground cumin and coriander rounds out the tender spuds.
Pour Company is at 136 West Wilshire Avenue, Fullerton; open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday, and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday. See menu at https://www.pourcompany.com.
Salad Day with Keller: When he worked the line at Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in the Napa Valley, he had a lesson that always sticks with him. He made a salad and Keller tasted it. Then Keller made the same salad and had him taste it. The difference was eye-opening, the finesse in the use of the ingredients struck him to his culinary core.
A Wife’s Tale: His wife is the pastry chef at the restaurant. He boasts that she makes the perfect cookie, oatmeal-chocolate chip-Heath Bar-marshmallow wonders. They’re used for sandwiching salted caramel ice cream. Yum.
Pour Company’s Eggs Benedict with Mustard-Spiked Hollandaise and Crisp Prosciutto
Yield: 4 two-egg servings
8 thin slices prosciutto
4 English muffins
8 medium eggs, for poaching
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, warm but not simmering
6 medium-sized egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Hot sauce to taste
Garnish: chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place prosciutto flat on rimmed baking sheet(s). Bake in oven until crisp. Split English muffins in half and toast.
2. Poach eggs: Break eggs into bowl. Bring saucepan of water to a gentle simmer; stir in vinegar. Swirl water with a large spoon. Scoop up one egg at the time in a cup and at water level pour into center of swirling water. You will need to do this in 2 or 3 batches. Cook eggs about 2 minutes to set the whites but yolk will remain soft. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain (eggs can be poached in advanced, refrigerated and reheated briefly in simmering water).
3. Prepare Hollandaise: Melt butter; keep warm but not simmering. Place yolks in blender; add mustard and a judicious amount of hot sauce. Whirl to blend. On medium speed, slowly add butter, increasing speed slightly when half of the butter is added. If sauce is too thick, add a little cold water with machine running. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
4. Plating: Place 2 toasted halves of English muffins on each plate. Top each with crisp prosciutto and poached egg. Top with Hollandaise Sauce. Serve fried potatoes on the side (recipe follows). Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Fried Potatoes with Cherry Tomatoes
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sliced red onion
8 whole cherry tomatoes
2 medium-sized skin-on Russet (baking) potatoes, cut into 3/8-inch dice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin and ground coriander mixture, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: To prepare spice mixture, place equal parts cumin seeds and coriander seeds in spice mill. Whirl until finely ground.
1. Melt butter in skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes start to pop, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until almost fork tender.
2. Add soy sauce and spice mixture; toss. Cook until potatoes are tender and soy sauce is absorbed (if pan becomes dry before potatoes are cooked, add a little water).
Here’s a quick tip from Melissa’s …
Informal gatherings should highlight food that is delicious but easy to prepare.
Here’s a make-ahead “jumble” of roasted red bell peppers and feta cheese that can be prepared up to one day in advance and refrigerated. It’s an easy-to-fix appetizer or first course, a filling that can top baguette slices or Belgian endive.
Roast Pepper and Feta Jumble
Yield: 20 to 30 servings
4 roasted medium-sized red bell peppers, cored, seeded, chopped (or 7-ounce jar, drained)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced green onion
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
For serving: Belgian endive leaves or baguette slices
1. To roast bell peppers, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add peppers in single layer. Place 6- to 8-inches below broiler element; broil until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Rotate peppers with tongs and char on all sides. Remove from oven and cover with foil; let rest 5 minutes and remove top sheet of foil. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed and chop.
2. Add peppers to bowl. Add remaining ingredients: garlic, oil, juice, green onion and feta. Toss to combine. Place a spoonful of mixture on each endive leaf or place on baguette slices.