Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lobster Bacon Eggs Benedict with Butternut Squash Hollandaise

Last month I flew back to Calgary to visit my family and friends and to celebrate a belated Mother's Day and my birthday. During brunch with the fam they all had a good laugh as my Mom recalled this one time when I was 6 years old...

It was a Sunday morning and for some reason or another I got into a little huff with my mom and decided I was going to run away. I packed up my little backpack (exactly what are the essentials for a 6 year old!?) but needless to say didn't get very far, to the large tree two meters from our house to be exact because I was too scared to go any further. Honest to god I remember to this day what I was thinking as I crouched behind that tree, I was scared..and reeallly hungry. I remember thinking, what am I going to do now? I'm starving but I'm not going back in there! What seemed like ages (but was probably 10 minutes later) I heard my pops slowly open the door, calling my name and telling me to come back inside. "No thank you!" I shouted crossing my arms, "but Mom made pancaakes!" (me shaking my head but contemplating the thought of this offer) "with fresh blueberry sauceee..." (as I then picked up my little backpack and slowly trudged back in the house).

I LOVE brunch. It's sweet, or savory or even better, BOTH! I came up with this Mother's Day brunch menu while I was in Vancouver so I made sure to bring back a loaf of challah bread from one of my favorite bakeries. I love eggs benedict but usually don't order it because I find it a bit too heavy. I wanted something a little lighter than the usual English muffin so I went with toasted challah and instead of a rich hollandaise I came up with a butternut squash sauce that's just as creamy, with a touch of lemon and fresh tarragon (so really, similar to a bearnaise sauce). To finish my version I went with a mini lobster tail, crispy bacon, kale and a perfectly poached egg and served with it golden herb roasted potatoes, heirloom tomato salad and a lychee, pear, mango fruit salad.

So really the truth comes out! I can easily be bribed with food...

Butternut Squash Hollandaise
Yields approx 3 cups

1lb butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
hot water or stock (to thin out sauce)

1. In a saucepan saute shallots with olive oil, just until translucent.
2. Add butternut squash and pour in chicken stock and tarragon. Cook for 12-15 min on simmer until squash is soft.
3. Puree sauce using a blender or immersion blender until smooth.
4. Place back on stove, on medium heat, whisk in butter slowly. Add lemon juice.
5. Add cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon in a thin layer. If consistency is too thick, thin out with hot water or stock, re-season if necessary.