Citizens, your rich and delicious tastes are well-documented here as members of TFD Nation – now let me blow your minds with the O.G. itself – Eggs Benedict! This is the original recipe from the place that invented the dish – the legendary Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City, where the aristocracy of the Gilded Age dined!
Eggs Benedict was invented at Delmonico’s — America’s first great restaurant — in the late 1860s by Chef Charles Ranhofer. The dish, which was named for a regular Delmonico’s patron at the time, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, consists of warm toasted brioche rounds topped with proscuitto cotto, poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, and an elegant touch of Osetra caviar.
As further elucidated in a great article on amny.com:
Before bottomless brunch on the Lower East Side, NYC’s elite were feasting on Eggs Benedict.
But what came first, the Benedictines or the Benedict?
The popular brunch dish has hazy origins, with a number of Benedicts claiming to be ancestors of the original hangover dish.
Delmonico’s believes the dish was created for a pair of regular diners, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedictine, who reported to be bored with the regular menu circa the 1860s.
“The Delmonico brothers were notorious for naming dishes after their customers,” explains current Delmonico chef Billy Oliva. The restaurant even renamed Lobster Newburg from Lobster Wenberg when the dish’s original namesake fought with manager Charles Delmonico.
The Benedictines must have tipped nicely (or something like that) to keep the attribution with the original dish, cooked for them with cured ham, poached eggs and topped with Hollandaise sauce.
“It’s just a good combination, it’s very rich and it’s a good hangover food,” said Oliva on the dish’s lasting popularity. “It’s also tricky to make so it’s an item that people don’t want to try at home and they order it out.”
But the history of Eggs Benedict cracks more shells.
In 1942, ‘New Yorker’ ran a ‘Talk of the Town’ piece reporting that retired Wall Street stock broker Lemuel Benedict had inspired Eggs Benedict after a visit to the Waldorf Hotel in 1894. Reportedly made with “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of Hollandaise” to cure a bad hangover, this dish sounds a lot like the one Mrs. LeGrand Benedict was such a fan of at DelMonico’s.
While recipes attributing various kitchens to the origin of this eponymous dish have been published for over a century, a 2007 ‘New York Times’ article says it best: “Eggs Benedict is a mystery rooted in a long-vanished version of New York.”
I have gilded the lily by adding a bit of minced flowering chives to this classic – feel free to omit for the version as served at Delmonico’s! Note that English Muffins are NEVER used at the restaurant – I urge you to follow their leadership, Citizens! 🙂
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