Eggs benedict are one of those treats that I only have once in a blue moon, but sometimes there’s no other acceptable option for brunch. Love love love a good veggie Benny. And a bad one can totally ruin an otherwise fabulous morning. Those of us who are on a gluten free diet might think that means the end of Benny joy, but not so. Nice golden quinoa patties solve the muffin problem perfectly.
This stroke of inspiration occurred to me while Kyle & I were spending a cozy winter weekend at the fabulous Sawtooth Hotel in beautiful Stanley, Idaho. In addition to stunning views of the Sawtooth Mountains, the Hotel boasts a terrific menu complete with quinoa croquettes, roasted veggies and poached eggs for breakfast – perfect for those of us following the Body Ecology program. (If you’re on a “see food” diet, don’t worry, there are also plenty of tasty offerings at the hotel not approved for these other diets!) However, on the second morning, I started whimpering wistfully as the waiter told us about the special Eggs Benedict they were offering. Halfway through our healthy (yet very tasty), hollandaise-less breakfast, it came to me. Yee-haw!
And the perfectly lemony hollandaise below makes a satisfyingly naughty topping for this otherwise super-healthy breakfast (or lunch or dinner). I mean, really, you can’t be good all the time! (And if it makes you feel better, I almost halve the amount of butter called for in the Joy hollandaise recipe, so it’s really not that bad….)
Like some of the best things, this baby takes time. If you can plan ahead, I recommend making the quinoa patties the day before, just so your audience doesn’t have to wait till noon for breakfast.
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
olive oil for sautéing
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped
1 avocado, sliced
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 pinches cayenne powder
salt to taste
4-6 eggs (the hollandaise makes enough for 2 or 3 people, depending on how well they share… so gauge your eggs based on your audience… or make more hollandaise)
To make the quinoa patties, mix everything together well. Heat up a skillet or griddle on medium/medium-high. Form patties about 4 inches wide by 1/2 inch thick and cook until slightly golden on both sides. Keep warm until ready to plate, or refrigerate until ready to use and reheat.
Saute leeks in olive oil until wilted. Add red pepper and cook until almost tender. Add Swiss chard and cook until all veggies are done how you like ’em and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan and set aside. Heat water in the bottom pan of a double boiler until barely simmering. Whisk egg yolks and water in the top pan of the double boiler while off the heat for a few minutes until light and a little foamy. Place over the barely simmering water and whisk continuously until eggs have thickened. Be careful to not let them get too hot and scramble. Once thickened, remove from heat and take the water off the burner, but don’t discard. Drizzle butter in eggs slowly while whisking. Add lemon juice and cayenne and whisk in. Sprinkle in a little salt to taste. Add a smidge more lemon juice, if desired. Set aside while you poach the eggs (instructions here, or you can be a cheater like me and use a special poaching pan). You can put the pan back over the hot water to reheat the sauce slightly when the eggs are almost ready. (If the sauce is too thick, you can thin with a little hot water… but be conservative and add just a bit at a time until you get the desired consistency.)
To serve, put a couple quinoa patties on a plate, top with sautéed veggies & sliced avocado. Plop a poached egg on top of each and drizzle, spoon, or pour (depending on how decadent your tastes run) hollandaise on top. Sprinkle with a bit of cayenne if you want a little extra kick. Enjoy right away since hollandaise is best right off the stove. Mmmm, Benny.
And check out the Sawtooths! If you haven’t been to Idaho, you are seriously missing out!