I don’t know what compelled me to wake up at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday and decide that making Eggs Benedict was a good idea. But when there’s a toddler tugging at your blanket and there’s more than plenty of time on a weekday morning, sleep deprivation and a hungry stomach begin making decisions one cannot argue with. So it was that in this deluded state I decided, not only was I going to make Eggs Benedict, I was going to make them Peruvian style with homemade huancaina sauce because I’d had a dream the night before that my husband and I had innovated this particular dish and it had been damn tasty. This is probably a good time to tell you that I’ve never poached an egg in my life. But, hey, there’s a first time for everything.
I don’t really know if this has been done before (or in a better way), but several Google searches turned up nothing of the sort, so I’m excited to share our version of this brunch classic. I was born to Cuban parents so I turned to my Peruvian husband for his version of the yellow pepper sauce (a.k.a. the huancaina). To try a different (more traditional) version, check out this one I found on the Food Network.
What You’ll Need – Basics:
- Eggs + Vinegar (Here’s an easy tutorial on how to actually poach them – and here is yet another.)
- Canadian Bacon
- Potatoes + Your choice of oil to fry them in
What You’ll Need for the Sauce:
- 1 Pack of Cream Cheese (We use Philadelphia)
- 1 Sleeve of Club Crackers (This makes the sauce a little sweeter than traditional recipes)
- 1 Tablespoon of Yellow Pepper Sauce (Or Aji Amarillo – We use this brand but you can sometimes find frozen yellow peppers at the grocery store and just grind them)
- 1 Can of Evaporated Milk
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Mashed
- Bijol for color (Just a few dashes until you get a light yellow color)
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Note: This is a large serving of sauce that will make for about 8-10 servings with this particular dish. We always make it in large quantities because we tend to find uses for it on other dishes throughout the week (pasta, on rice, to dip in, etc.). Also – this is not a purely traditional recipe for the sauce but it’s my preferred version because my husband makes it a little differently (with the crackers, for instance) and that makes it both a little sweet and spicy.
How to Make It:
In a blender, combine the cream cheese, garlic, and milk. Then slowly add in the crackers for proper consistency. Follow with the Bijol for color and salt & pepper to taste (just a light sprinkle if you feel you need it). Set the sauce aside. (Note: The sauce should be made on the spot. Having it cold won’t be as pleasant on the eggs and heating it up will sometimes make it curdle.) Peel the potatoes and slice to desired thickness. Lightly fry in a pan in your choice of oil until they are lightly golden. Salt and pepper to taste (very little goes a long way). Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. The Canadian bacon will fry quickly and easily, so just lightly pan fry it and set it aside. Once you have all the other components ready, it’s time to poach the eggs.
Assembly: Once the eggs, bacon, potatoes and sauce are ready, the assembly is simple: start by layering the potato, then the Canadian bacon, and top with your poached egg. You can also add a traditional English muffin or some type of breading at the bottom, but we wanted to keep it a little lighter this time around.
Drizzle a healthy amount of huancaina sauce on those eggs and you’re ready to go. And if you don’t want to miss out on any of that saucy goodness, grab some toast and dip until foodgasm is inevitably achieved. You can’t waste perfectly good huancaina sauce – nor should you. So clean up that plate before it hits the sink. I won’t judge.
To try your hand at another Peruvian dish, check out our recipe for seco de res (beef stew). If Cuban is more your thing, check out my Abuela’s arroz con pollo (chicken and yellow rice) recipe.
Photo credit: Tony Espinoza.
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