Poached Eggs Carbonara

By Wendy Monro

I normally don’t order eggs Benedict when I am out because the Hollandaise sauce is never as good as Claud’s. I am always disappointed. For some reason, on my last few days in England I had a hankering for it and wanted to give it a shot. All of the food we were eating was so delicious. I thought they just might know how to make great Hollandaise sauce in England. After all, it is the country where Claud learned to make it in the first place and it is pretty close to France.

I spent the last three mornings in England trying to get Eggs Benedict into my belly. It started when we were staying at a hotel called The Bear in Hungerford. Our room came with a hot breakfast and Eggs Benedict was on the menu. I ordered it and a few minutes later, the waitress returned from the kitchen to tell me they were out of Hollandaise sauce. Bummer. I went with the vegetarian English breakfast instead. We decided to spend another night at The Bear. The following morning, I made sure to get to the restaurant earlier so they would still have Hollandaise. I ordered it again. The waitress returned a few minutes later to tell me they couldn’t find the Hollandaise sauce.

I was getting the impression that this particular chef did not know how to make Hollandaise sauce. I ordered the scrambled eggs on toast instead. Later that day, we drove to London. I suggested we go to dinner at our friend’s pub, The Cow. So, we all got ready and walked to The Cow. We ordered Moules Mariniere, oysters, fish stew, and goats cheese salad. It was beyond incredible. The food in London is so very good.

The next morning, my friend Sage came into my bedroom and asked if I would like to walk down the street with her to a little French restaurant and have Eggs Benedict. She didn’t even know about my quest. I told her I absolutely did want to go and have Eggs Benedict and quickly got ready. We walked a few blocks until we arrived at the closed restaurant. Darn! I asked if there was any other place she knew of around there which served this seemingly elusive breakfast dish. She said we could walk to Pizza East but it was a little far. I told her I didn’t mind. It was probably best to have a long walk before eating egg yolks and butter anyway.

So, off we walked. I was daydreaming about finally tasting the tangy, rich, and creamy sauce. My mouth watered. We made our way to the restaurant and I took a look at the menu. I looked it up and down. I didn’t see Eggs Benedict. I finally decided to give up. I wasn’t going to get Eggs Benedict. I needed to face the facts. Sage suggested we order the Poached Eggs Carbonara instead. She said it was pretty similar to Eggs Benedict but that it added pancetta and garlic into the sauce and then was topped with Parmesan cheese. Well, that sounded phenomenal. Why not add a few hundred more calories to the mix? We did indeed order this and she was right in her recommendation.

The sauce was rich and creamy like Hollandaise, although different. The differences were good. I loved the sharp garlic taste and the saltiness of the pancetta. I forgot to mention that I ate meat while I was on this vacation. So, the bacon was a real treat. I don’t know why but I just decided to go crazy for two weeks. I ate everything in sight. I was hungry all of the time. I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert in “Eat, Pray, Love” when she goes to Italy and decides to eat everything with abandon and not worry about her weight. I gained eight pounds in two weeks and it was worth it. Now that I am back, I am returning to my old healthy eating. I have been eating salads for every meal. I need to fit back into my jeans again and get rid of this muffin top. Although, I just might ask Claud to make me Eggs Benedict this weekend just to stop the craving. It has to be done.

Poached Eggs Carbonara:

Serves: 4

Time: 20 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces pancetta

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

8 eggs, poached

1 baguette, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add pancetta and saut until the bacon is crisp (about three minutes). Add garlic and saut another minute. Set aside. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice until thickened. Place bowl over saucepan containing simmering water. Continue to whisk. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and whisk. Add salt and pepper. Pour in the pancetta mixture. Pour the sauce over two poached eggs and top with Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper. Serve with a toasted sliced baguette.

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