Thank The Grilled Cheese Grill folks for daring to suggest what we’ve been saying all along: Everything’s better with Tillamook. Poached eggs, ham and tomato on English muffin bread, covered with Tillamook Cheddar cheese sauce. Bam!
“Understandably, this dish is a loose interpretation of what most people recognize as a Grilled Cheese. But it’s good, and we’re exercising our right to poetic license. So there. Instead of Hollandaise, this dish uses a simple-to-prepare cheese sauce. Easy to make, great looking on the plate, and sure to impress your next breakfast guests.” – Matt Breslow of the Grilled Cheese Grill
2 tablespoons (1 oz) Tillamook® Salted Butter
2 tablespoons (1 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 oz) whole milk
1 ½ - 2 cups (6-8 oz) Tillamook® Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Grilled Cheese Benedict
2 tablespoons white vinegar
4 fresh eggs (the fresher, the better)
4 slices of English muffin bread (or 2 English muffins)
4 slices of round deli ham
1 ripe tomato
Salt and pepper
Old Bay seasoning (or paprika)
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter thoroughly, then mix in the flour, stirring until well dissolved. Gradually stir in milk and continue to stir until smooth and thick. It might take five minutes or so. If it’s taking too long, add a little heat (but don’t go over a 4 on your burner). Once the milk has thickened, lower heat back to low and allow to sit for about five minutes on the burner, stirring occasionally.
Throw cheese into milk mixture and stir thoroughly until it’s a smooth and thick sauce. You can always add more cheese if you’d like to thicken the sauce further. Once it’s done, keep over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Poaching an Egg
Prepare another medium saucepan about half full with water and set to med-high heat. This is the pot in which you will poach your eggs. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to your water to help the eggs properly poach. Do not let the water boil; to best poach an egg, you want the water at a temp just below boiling. If it does reach boiling, lower the heat and allow pot to sit until water is no longer boiling.
Poaching an egg is much easier than you’d expect. With the just-under-boiling pot of water ready, carefully crack one egg into a small pyrex measuring cup that has a handle. You can also use a small coffee mug if you’d like. When cracking the egg, be careful not to break the yolk. If the yolk is broken, the egg won’t poach well. The reason you want the freshest eggs is because the membranes that separate the egg whites from the yolk will be stronger when the egg is fresh. The more aged the egg gets, the less integrity the membranes retain.
So you have a pot of really hot but not boiling water, and a measuring cup with a raw egg in it. Pick up the measuring cup by the handle and tilt it over the pot just enough so the egg does NOT pour out. Lower the measuring cup into the water so that it fills with water but the egg doesn’t pour out. The egg should start to turn white. As this happens, begin to gently shake the measuring cup, the goal being to try to prevent the egg from sticking to the sides. Once the egg surface has whitened, about 10-15 seconds, gently pour it into the pot and remove the measuring cup. With a dish towel, dry the measuring cup and repeat the whole process with another egg.
Prepare the Sandwiches
To prepare the toast, set a large frying pan to medium heat. Cut the crusts off the English muffin bread (unless you’re using English muffins), forming a nice square slice, about 3-4 inches long on each side. Butter one side of each piece of bread and put it butter side down in the frying pan. Dab butter on the other sides of the bread.
Now check your eggs. With a slotted spoon, gently scoop the first egg that went into the pot and pull it from the water. With it still on the spoon, you can check to see how done it is. Runny poached eggs usually take about 4 minutes to cook. Give it a nudge, and if it still feels really liquidy, it will need a little more time. Once the eggs are done, place each on a paper towel to collect excess water.
Place the slices of ham in the same frying pan as the bread. While the ham is cooking slice the tomato. Flip your toast and ham. Put the tomatoes on the grill for just a minute (to take out some of the water) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Sandwiches
To plate the ham, fold it twice into a quarter-circle and place each slice directly on each slice of toast. Put one slice of tomato over each ham piece, making a nice Benedictine tower.
The final step is to ladle your cheese sauce over top (using as much as you want). Finish with a dash of Old Bay seasoning over top. Now cook your own, repeating the steps to create a second plate!