April 16th is National Eggs Benedict Day. This year, it also happens to be Easter Sunday.
You want something festive for breakfast, but not so rich that you’ll be weighted down for Easter dinner.
Here’s a tip to trim Eggs Benedict—laden with ham and egg-rich hollandaise sauce—into a streamlined Nordic version: Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict With Skyr “Hollandaise.”
Authentic hollandaise is made with egg yolks and butter, and seasoned with lemon juice, salt, pepper and often, a dash of cayenne. (Here’s a recipe.)
Hold the eggs, hold the butter: The skyr “hollandaise” is turned into a flavorful sauce with skyr and seasonings by Icelandic Provisions skyr), a major producer of skyr.
They removed the fatty ingredients yet deliver an even creamier, flavorful sauce. We should call it “skyr sauce,” but few would understand what that means.
Which brings is to:
What is skyr?
Skyr (pronounced skeer) is a densely concentrated (thicker than Greek yogurt but similar in texture—see photo #5 below), protein packed, cultured dairy product with a thick, creamy texture and mild flavor.
It has been a dairy staple in Iceland for more than a thousand years. The Vikings ate it.
In Iceland, skyr is typically fat-free because all the cream from the milk has been removed to make butter.
Icelandic Provisions uses 200-year-old heirloom skyr cultures from Iceland, making it the only traditional Icelandic skyr available in the U.S.
How does skyr differ from yogurt, another cultured product? We’ll get to that below. First, the recipe.
Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 6 minutes.
Ingredients For 2 Servings
For The Skyr “Hollandaise” Sauce
1. COMBINE the skyr, lemon juice, mustard, turmeric, paprika, and sea salt in a small bowl. Whisk together until emulsified. Set aside.
2. BREAK one egg into the strainer over a bowl. Tip it around to help separate the thin part of the egg white from the thick part of the egg white, and tap the strainer against the side of the bowl. The thinner part of the egg white will fall through and the thick part and the yolk will remain. Pour the egg into a ramekin and set aside. Save the thinner egg white in storage container for separate use. Repeat with each egg.
3. BRING 4 inches of lightly salted water to a boil in a medium size saucepan. When the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and slide each egg, one at a time into the water. Let them cook until egg whites are slightly firm about 2-3 minutes. The yolks will be runny.
4. TOAST the English muffins while the eggs are poaching.
5. REMOVE the eggs with a slotted spoon. Place them on a clean plate and set aside.
6. ASSEMBLE: Place the spinach, a tomato slice, 1/4 of the smoked salmon and a poached egg on the bottom half of each English muffin. Pour 1/4 of the skyr mixture over each egg, and sprinkle some dill on top before serving. Serve immediately.
IS SKYR YOGURT OR CHEESE?
If you look for information on skyr, you may find it referred to as a cheese. So is it yogurt or cheese?
It depends on the recipe of the individual producer.
The difference between a cheese and a cultured milk product like yogurt or sour cream is that cheese, by definition, is set with rennet. Fromage blanc and quark are examples of this type of cheese.
Each cheesemaker has his/her own recipe and process. Some skyr makers began to leave out the rennet. The Icelandic Provisions brand, made in the U.S., is made without rennet.
Skyr is made from unique skyr cultures that are different from yogurt cultures. Most skyrs contain more than 20 grams of protein per cup, and flavored yogurts have less sugar* than Greek yogurt; and 30% more yogurt than a non-Greek, custard-style yogurt (also called French or Swiss style) and sundae-style yogurt with the fruit on the bottom.
The recipe arrived in Iceland from Norway in the Middle Ages, originally made as a cheese, with rennet.
The difference between a cultured dairy product, such as sour cream or yogurt, and a fresh cheese that looks just like it, such as fromage blanc or quark, is the addition of a coagulant, such as rennet.
With cottage cheese and ricotta, you can see the curds. With fromage blanc and quark (and most other cheeses), you can’t, because of the particular recipe.
 While each producer’s yogurt or soft cheese may have a different texture, here’s one comparison of skyr (top) with Greek yogurt (bottom), courtesy of Cook’s Science.
You also can’t tell the difference by tasting it. The textures of fromage blanc, quark, skyr, sour cream and yogurt are very similar. You often can’t tell the difference without tasting.
Also, don’t confuse these fresh cheeses with yogurt cheese like labneh. Yogurt cheese is regular yogurt, strained of its water to a thick consistency. It may be called cheese, but it’s the same cultured product as the yogurt it’s made from.
SKYR & YOGURT DIFFERENCES
Check out our Yogurt Glossary for much more on the different types of yogurt.
*According to the company website, on average, the flavored varieties of Icelandic Provisions skyr contain 33% or ¼ teaspoon less sugar and 20% more protein than the flavored varieties of the top 5 leading brands of Greek yogurt.