Eggs Benedict — I dream of its lusciousness — poached eggs with golden, runny yolks, the creamy hollandaise kissed by a hint of lemon. This is my baseline concept of the classic egg creation. Anything you decide to pair with it or underneath it, that’s where the artistry comes into play. Here, healthy quinoa cakes are studded with green onion to add a bit of bite. Layer with prosciutto and peppery arugula, and top with a poached egg. The amount of hollandaise is up to you. I won’t tell.
Take each segment of the recipe in separate steps. It will simplify the process, and you’ll have time to concentrate on each part.
Eggs Benedict with Quinoa Cakes and Prosciutto Recipe
For Quinoa Cakes
1 cup quinoa
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs plus 1/2 cup egg whites from 4 eggs (reserve yolks for hollandaise)
3 green onions, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T olive oil
For Poached eggs
4 large, very fresh eggs
1 T white vinegar
Equipment: bowl of ice water; deep skillet with lid; slotted spoon
4 slices prosciutto
1 cup arugula
4 egg yolks
1 T water
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
dash red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Equipment: a double boiler or sauce pan that will fit into a bowl of ice water
To Prepare Quinoa Cakes:
Combine 2 cups cold water and quinoa in sauce pan. Add salt if desired. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking for about 15 minutes, or until ring appears on grain. Remove from heat, fluff and cool. Yields about 2 1/2 cups quinoa.
Combine quinoa, breadcrumbs, eggs and egg whites, and green onions in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Form mixture into 8 patties.
Note: the recipe only calls for 4 cakes. Save the rest for another use in the refrigerator or freezer. They’re perfect underneath roast chicken, lamb or make another batch of eggs!
Heat oil in large skillet. Gently place patties, keeping them from touching. Cook for 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn gently and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes, or until browned. Remove to plate lined with paper towel and keep warm.
To Prepare Poached Eggs:
First of all — don’t panic! Poaching eggs without the help of a poaching pan is totally possible! If you panic, the eggs will sense your discomfort, freak out and shed bits of white everywhere. Remember, a calm cook is a cook in control.
Also remember that it’s impossible for an egg to not leave bits of white in the pot. It’s all part of the process.
Breathing? Good! Let’s get poaching!
In deep skillet with lid, add water to 3 inches high, or about 2/3 of the pot. Bring to very slow boil (just a little bubble here and there is enough) and add the white vinegar. The water shouldn’t be vigorous, simply a gentle bubbling. Think of it as a bubble warmer.
Prepare a bowl of ice water and a plate large enough to hold eggs, lined with paper towel.
Crack one egg into a small ramekin or measuring cup. This helps you ease the egg into the water and will keep the white from spreading. Do not plop! Slide it into the water bath. Crack another egg into a second ramekin.
Using a long handled spoon, swirl water to create a gentle whirlpool bath for your egg. Slip egg into the water, using spoon to corral the egg white around the yolk.
Repeat with second egg, again swirling the water into a whirlpool, and then lower egg into the water bath.
Cover skillet and simmer on very low for 2 minutes to create a runny yolk and firm white. Medium cooked eggs take 3 minutes, firm yolks will take up to 4 minutes.
Remove the eggs one at a time with a slotted spoon and place into ice water. This will stop the cooking and remove the vinegar taste.
Repeat with remaining two eggs. Keep water on very low heat to warm eggs up before serving.
For Hollandaise Sauce:
Add water to bottom part of double boiler and bring to slow rolling boil over medium heat.
Whisk egg yolks, water and lemon juice together. Off heat, add to top pan of the double boiler. They should have a pale yellow consistency.
Place pot containing egg mixture on top of pan containing boiling water. Continue to whisk briskly along bottom and sides of pan until mixture thickens and becomes fluffy. You should be able to see streaks on the bottom of the pan. If eggs are thickening too quickly, remove from heat.
Off heat, add the softened butter by tablespoons, whisking thoroughly to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon.
Add salt and a dash of red pepper to finish and keep the sauce on the double boiler with heat off to keep warm until serving. If you need to reheat, turn on low. If sauce separates, or “breaks” add additional butter to bring the eggs back together.
Place two quinoa cakes on each plate. Layer with prosciutto and arugula.
Slip eggs one at a time into warm water for 30 seconds to rewarm. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate and pat dry with edge of towel. Place one egg on top of each cake.
Spoon hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and enjoy your creation!
Serves 2 – 4.
Thank you to Christie Lind for the recipe inspiration!
Wine educator and podcaster Stephanie Davis says that most people think of Germany when it comes to the grape Gewürztraminer. Instead, turn your attention to the German-speaking province in northern Italy where you will uncover magnificent expressions of “Gewürz.” Open a bottle of highly perfumed, fruit-driven spiced Gewürz with this rich, gooey egg-tastic dish. Stephanie says you’ll be inspired to create fictitious words of your own, if you do!
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.