Poached Eggs with Tasso and Hollandaise Sauce (Eggs Hussarde)

According to American Cooking: Creole and Acadian (Time-Life Books, 1971), eggs hussarde may have been named after 15th-century Hungarian mercenary soldiers called hussars, who often wore tomato red uniforms. This dish is traditionally made with two sauces, hollandaise and marchand de vin. The latter is typically based on veal stock, but some cooks use a red-wine reduction called divinity sauce instead.

Poached Eggs with Tasso and Hollandaise Sauce (Eggs Hussarde)
A Creole favorite, this dish is a hearty addition to any brunch.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 11 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • White distilled vinegar
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 english muffins, split and lightly toasted
  • 24 (1⁄4"-thick) slices tasso (Cajun-style smoked pork, about 1 lb.)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 8 thick slices

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; strain through a sieve. Set divinity sauce aside.
  2. Pour water into a medium saucepan to a depth of 2". Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk lemon juice, yolks, and 2 tbsp. water together in a heatproof bowl until frothy. Nestle bowl over simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until pale yellow and thickened, 2–3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and slowly drizzle in remaining butter in a thin stream, whisking constantly, to form a thick hollandaise sauce. Whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover to keep sauce warm.
  3. Fill a large tall pot with at least 6" of poaching liquid (for every 4 cups of water, add 1⁄2 cup vinegar and 1⁄2 tsp. salt). Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-high to maintain a very gentle boil. Quickly crack each egg into the pot while holding your hands about 3" above the water. Poach eggs (see Perfect Poaching), without stirring, until yolks are set but still runny in the middle, 4 1⁄2–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel–lined plate; trim off trailing egg whites, if you like. Set oven rack 4" from the broiler; preheat. Put muffin halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Arrange 3 slices of tasso on each, drizzle tasso with divinity sauce, and top each with a tomato slice. Broil until tomatoes are bubbly, 3–4 minutes. Divide muffin halves between plates, top each with a poached egg, and spoon hollandaise over the top.