Some of the most fun Jess and I have in the kitchen is taking classic recipes and changing them around in order to come up with something new but still recognizable. For our Steak and Eggs Mornay, we’ve taken the classic pairing of steak and eggs and mixed it with the basic structure of Eggs Mornay to come up with a hearty main dish that is just as good for supper as it is brunch. Most everyone has heard of Eggs Benedict: an English muffin topped with ham or bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise; Eggs Mornay simply replaces the hollandaise with a cheese sauce. For our dish, we also replace the ham with thinly sliced beef tenderloin to make a nice twist on that late night diner classic steak and eggs. The result is a richly flavored dish that is both different and familiar all at once.
Steak and Eggs Mornay
- Jumbo Eggs – two per person is normal, but if you’re making sides, you might cut this to one.
- 4 tbsp. white vinegar
- 10 oz. beef tenderloin
- 1.5 cups milk
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp. fresh chives
- Dash of nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper
Our first step is to poach some eggs. Poaching is my favorite way to eat eggs because it gives you all the nice texture of a firm white and a creamy yolk of a fried egg without all the oily heaviness. Poaching eggs is not as hard as it looks, and since eggs are rather cheap, it’s a technique that’s rather easy to practice. To poach your eggs, set a kettle of water on to boil. While the water heats up, prepare a medium-sized bowl of ice water and set aside. When the water begins coming to a boil, lightly salt and add the vinegar; the vinegar will help set your egg whites quickly. Adjust your heat so that your pot is at a brisk simmer (not a full rolling boil). Crack your egg into a coffee or measuring cup, taking care not to break the yolk. Stir your water in a circular motion so that a vortex forms in the center, then ease your egg into the center of this vortex. Simmer for three minutes. The circular motion of the water will wrap the egg white around the yolk and you will be left with a nicely formed pouch around the soft filling. After three minutes, remove your egg with a slotted spoon and slip into the ice water.
Next, sear your steak in a cast iron pan until it’s rare to medium rare. Any more done than this and you might as well just go chew on one of your shoes and not waste money on a nice piece of beef. I like to salt and pepper my beef and let it sit for a little while (until it gets to room temperature) before I cook – and I know that goes against everything you think you should do with raw meat, but trust me, your steaks will be better. Once you’ve cooked the steaks, transfer them to a warm platter to rest.
I generally make my toast at the same time that I do the mornay sauce, and I think we all know how to do that. So yeah, make some toast. Also, start a small pot water boiling so that you can heat up your eggs. And for the mornay, melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. When the butter has stopped foaming, turn your heat to medium and add the flour, stirring to make a roux. Cook the roux for two minutes over medium-low heat – DON’T LET IT BROWN, at least not past a nice blond color. Remove from heat, and when the roux has stopped bubbling, add the milk, stirring so that everything is nicely mixed. Return to low heat and add the cheese, the nutmeg, and some salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese is incorporated.
Slice your steak thin and place over the toast. Plop your eggs into the boiling water for about 30 seconds to reheat, pat dry with a paper towel and place on top of the steak. Top with the mornay sauce and garnish with the chives. Serve with a grilled tomato for brunch or mixed vegetables for dinner – and enjoy!