Serrano Ham, Manchego and Red Chard Benedict

A new twist on a classic favorite, this version of Eggs Benedict features modern flavors and an easy cream sauce in place of Hollandaise. Serves 4 (2 each).

Ingredients

2 bunches red chard
4 English muffins, halved
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 lb Serrano ham, thinly sliced (other ham may be substituted)
3 T unsalted butter
1 sm shallot, finely diced
1/4 c water
salt and pepper
2 c heavy cream
3 egg yolks
8 extra lg eggs
2 t vinegar
8 tomato slices
3/4 c Manchego cheese, grated
chives, chopped for garnish

Steps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut stems away from chard. Finely slice stems and cut leaves into thin strips, keeping stems and leaves separate; set aside.

Brush muffin halves with 2 T melted butter and place onto a sheet pan. Toast until golden. Place Serrano ham in a large pan and sauté over med-high heat until crispy, flipping once; set aside.

Add 3 T unsalted butter to the pan and keep at med-high heat. Add shallot and slices of chard stems; sauté until softened (approx. 3-5 min). Add remaining chard and 1/4 c of water; sauté until liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside, keeping warm.

Pour cream into a saucepan over med-low heat and reduce to 1 1/3 c. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and whisk until sauce thickens slightly; do not boil. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Fill a large pot with water halfway; bring to a boil. Add vinegar and lower to simmer (a rapid boil will cause the poached eggs to lose their shape). Break egg into a small ramekin, then gently drop egg into water. Repeat with remaining eggs and let cook undisturbed. Depending on desired doneness, poaching time will vary (approx. 5-8 min). With a slotted spoon, remove eggs and place onto paper towels.

To assemble, place 2 muffin halves on a serving plate and top each with chard, tomato, crisped ham then egg; dress with sauce. To warm, microwave on high 20-30 sec. Sprinkle with Manchego, chives and fresh ground black pepper.

Serve immediately.