I think I’ve discussed before the fact that I rarely eat eggs, that is up until this past year when suddenly I discovered I liked them. This isn’t to say I crave eggs the way I do chocolate or even peaches, but at least now I like them and sometimes even order them in a restaurant for brunch. Yes, I was that person who used to order a chicken sandwich off the breakfast menu, sorry.
Surprisingly, I’ve found that I prefer eggs to be little raw, be it poached or fried I like a runny yolk. Also, if I’m going to eat eggs the dish needs to have more than just eggs to it. It needs vegetables at the very least, and maybe something starchy like toast.
Earlier this summer I had lunch at Nookies, a casual neighborhood restaurant, and found “grilled vegetable eggs Benedict” on their summer menu. Essentially, it was grilled vegetables served on an English muffin, topped with a poached egg and salsa. And it was fantastic! This dish was light with bright and fresh summer flavors, and was one where I instantly thought I needed to make this myself.
In my version of vegetable eggs Benedict, I like to saute the vegetables rather than grill them because, well, I don’t have a grill. Also, I use fewer types of vegetables because I like to be able to taste all of them. I use whole wheat English muffins and – please don’t judge me for this one – store-bought salsa. One of these days I’m going to make a big batch of salsa and freeze or can it, but for now I find that a chunky, mild store-bought salsa works just fine.
As for poaching eggs, I want to be clear that this is really easy to do and you don’t need any of those weird poaching gizmos. Remember to always use cold, fresh eggs and add 1 to 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar to the poaching liquid to ensure the eggs stay together. The rest is all technique which is described in the recipe below.
Here’s the recipe:
Vegetable Eggs Benedict, serves 2
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 to 10 mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 whole wheat English muffins, split and toasted
1/4 cup salsa
To cook the vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red pepper, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook for five minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the vegetables are cooked through but not mushy, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
To poach the eggs: Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and hold at 200°F (medium heat on most stove tops). Add the distilled white vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl making sure the yolk remains whole, then gently pour the egg into the simmering water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining eggs one at a time. Once cooked to desired doneness (3 minutes for very runny yolk, 5 minutes for almost solid yolk) remove the egg with a slotted spoon and trim any scraggly edges.
To assemble the vegetable eggs Benedict set a split and toasted English muffin on each of two plates. Top with a generous serving of sauteed vegetables, followed by a poached egg, and then finally a tablespoon of salsa. Serve warm.