When you wake up with Tasting Tucson, you might have an appetite for a great, hearty breakfast to start the day.

This dish is something everyone young and young at heart will find comforting. Back at Sunrise Senior Living on the north side, the kitchen team’s whipping up an Arizona spin on Eggs Benedict.

In the back kitchen, dining services coordinator Bob Kowalske started his process with the sauce that defines this dish. “We make our hollandaise sauce from scratch,” he said. “Put it over a double boiler, whipping around the eggs a little bit till they turn yellow in color…”

Your wrist should get a workout here. Kowalske paused his whisking to add a little clarified butter, lemon and some southwestern spice. “Hot sauce on it, you can’t go wrong,” he said.

While the potato pancakes cook on the griddle, Kowalske had the ingredients for pico de gallo ready to slice. First, the tomatoes; he recommends taking the insides out of the whole fruit. I asked if I could jump in and put my chopping lessons from past Tasting Tucson visits to good use.

I just had to get the form right for the cilantro Bob seems to approve. “Nice saw motion, going back and forth. Nice! Let’s hope some people do this too, they’re not afraid to do this at home, either!”

Next on the list of pico ingredients: “Cilantro, green onion, chopped garlic and red white vinegar to punch it up,” Kowalske said. The running theme, he said, is fueling his diners’ appetite with flavor. He also said he loves getting to know everyone’s particular palette, from the daily dishes to the big holiday feasts.

“(We’ll learn) how much dark meat and white meat ratio (they want),” Kowalske said when it comes to getting Sunrise’s Thanksgiving feast ready each year.

“That’s kind of our bid, that’s what we do: we personalize what we’re doing. Betty’s sitting over in the corner. Marilyn’s over here. Paul’s not up front today… Oh, he’s out with his sons or daughter went out for lunch…”

Time to set the layers: potato pancakes on the bottom, poached eggs next. “This is where we’ll put our hollandaise sauce over it,” Kowalske said while layering the key condiment. Then, add the pico and some grilled corn.

Quick aside: Good Morning Tucson wanted to read about the creation of Eggs Benedict.

Two competing stories reported decades apart offer a compelling theory of who came up with this dish. In both cases, two men, both with the last name Benedict, claim they pioneered the meal.

Recipe breakdown for Arizona Eggs Benedict below: (Serves 4 people)

Hollandaise Sauce:

4 egg yolks 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup clarified butter 2 tablespoons diced green chiles

Use a stainless steel bowl.

Whisk the eggs yolks and lemon juice until mixture turns light in color. Place bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.

Very slowly drizzle the melted butter in while whisking continuously.

When all the butter has been added and sauce is thickened and doubled in volume, remove from heat and whisk in diced green chiles.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

Pico de Gallo:

2 plum tomatoes, diced 1/4 cup finely diced red onion 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 small jalapeo, finely diced 1/4 Anaheim chili pepper, finely diced 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 limes, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Toss gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Patty: 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups grated hash brown potatoes 2 tablespoons, diced green chiles 1 teaspoon minced garlic Combine potatoes, chiles and garlic in a bowl Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat Divide the potato mixture into four patties and cook on both sides until golden brown 4 eggs poached 4 sprigs of cilantro 1/4 cup fresh cooked corn kernels

Top a potato patty with an egg.

Drizzle egg with hollandaise sauce.

Top with pico de gallo and corn.

Garnish with cilantro.