There is no more quintessential brunch dish than eggs benedict, in all its forms. But have you ever asked yourself, “Who was Benedict and how can I thank him for this amazing creation?” Wonder no longer, we’re here to answer all your questions about the origins of eggs benedict.
What is in a classic eggs benedict?
The eggs benedict purist is going to be looking for a split English muffin topped with a slice of Canadian bacon or ham, perfectly poached eggs and a beautiful, unbroken Hollandaise sauce.
No, really, who was benedict?
Accounts vary on who the real Benedict was. One legend has it that Lemuel Benedict of Wall Street fame requested almost this exact combination of ingredients as a hangover cure one inspired morning in 1894. There’s also a Commodore E. C. Benedict, a prominent banker in New York, whose descendants have claimed he’s the true creator.
To add to the confusion, New York restaurant Delmonico’s claims that they first created the dish in 1860. A relative of a certain Mrs. LeGrande Benedict came forward in the late 1960s to say that she had suggested the dish to the folks at Delmonico’s, having grown tired of their regular menu. The restaurant’s chef did include an “Eggs à la Benedick” in an 1894 cookbook, but the true identity of Benedict is lost to history.
Where did eggs benedict come from?
All of the most famous claims come from New York City. So, we can deduce that the dish probably originated in the Big Apple.
Who made the dish?
We’ll probably never know the name of the chef who first cooked eggs benedict. If you believe the Lemuel Benedict story, he came up with the idea (except using bacon instead of ham) and then the maître d’hôtel at the Waldorf Astoria liked it so much he had it added to the menu. If this is true, the actual chef’s name will never be recovered.
Even if Delmonico’s invented the dish in 1860 as claimed, they don’t name the chef who created it. Though Chef Charles Ranhofer authored the 1894 cookbook mentioned above, he wasn’t the chef at Delmonico’s until 1862, so he wasn’t the first to cook it either.
And E. C. Benedict… well, maybe he did first make the dish, but his preference for hard cooked eggs rather than poached makes us glad there are some other contenders for this claim to fame.
So, no relation to Benedict Arnold, then?
This is a common misconception as Benedict Arnold was the most common Benedict in the American psyche at the time. There is no known relationship between the famous American traitor and eggs benedict, so you can enjoy your breakfast in peace.
Is it still eggs benedict if I choose salmon instead of ham?
This is the kind of question that arises when friends are competing for bragging rights on who has the most authentic dish. Understandable. Do you really care if your meal is “authentic” if it’s flat out delicious? But if you’re truly concerned about describing what you’re eating, read on…
What are the types of eggs benedict?
There are several ways you can change up your standard eggs benedict order:
Substitute a different protein for the ham. Irish Benedict is simply made with corned beef instead of ham. Bacon (plus tomato) makes eggs blackstone, blue crab cooks up eggs chesapeake, salmon gives you eggs royale, and steak yields eggs omar.
Change the sauce. If you prefer a Béchamel to a Hollandaise, order an Eggs blanchard. Eggs mornay comes with a rich cheese sauce.
Dress up your ingredients. A little spinach on your eggs benedict turns it into eggs florentine.
These are but a few of the many, many options out there for eggs benedict. We suggest finding the most creative eggs benedict on any menu into a brunch game. Try them all to see which is your favorite. Uber Eats can connect you with a variety of restaurants serving eggs benedict in your area to get the game underway!