Eggs Benedict with Squash

How to perfectly poach an egg? The secret is to pre-crack your egg into a smaller dish so you can delicately slide the egg in closer to your simmering water. Make sure to have your water at a simmer instead of a boil and that the water is roughly 3 inches high in your saucepan (not too deep but not so shallow that you egg hits and sticks to the bottom)

The worst of the health offenders in classic Eggs Benedict is of course, the hollandaise sauce- the main ingredient in the usual version? BUTTER. Yes, butter on butter on butter…with a couple egg yolks. We thought this deserved a bit of a makeover.

With our Kefir hollandaise sauce you are actually getting a whole lot of nutrition and sparing yourself those calories and fat.
What we kept traditional was the use of a double broiler to make the sauce, which can easily be done without the purchase of an actual double broiler. Put a nice heat-sturdy bowl (stainless steel is what I used) overtop of a pot, making sure that the bowl seals off the pot so no steam escapes. Voila- you just made a double boiler. The purpose of this technique is to gently cook things, such as sauces, dessert fillings, etc, slowly, gradually, and without burning or damaging to food.

EGGS BENEDICT WITH SQUASH


Ingredients
Base:

  • 1 large acorn squash (or another squash of your choosing- except spaghetti squash!)
  • Olive oil, enough to lightly coat squash
  • Salt and Pepper


Eggs:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar

Lightened Hollandaise Sauce: (makes roughly 1 cup)

  • 1 cup kefir or 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP butter or vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, smooth not whole grain
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

 Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms:

  • ½ large yellow onion
  • ¾-1 cup diced button mushrooms
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Smoked salmon or prosciutto ham slices – enough for each guest! Be generous, c’mon ;)

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut squash into rounds, making sure to scrape out the seeds of the inside.
  3. Coat lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast under tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  5. While squash is roasting, prepare spinach and mushroom mixture.
  6. Dice onion and mushroom; add to saucepan with olive oil and sauté.
  7. Add minced garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and place in colander or on paper towel to drain excess liquid from spinach.
  8. Prepare double boiler for the hollandaise. Bring water to a boil in pot and reduce heat until you have a gentle simmer.
  9. Mix egg yolks with kefir or yogurt and melted butter until combined. Gently whisk mixture in bowl over top of simmering water for 15 minutes or so, mixture should thicken slightly,
  10. Add lemon juice, Dijon, salt, pepper, and paprika, whisk for another minute, remove sauce from heat, cover, and set aside.
  11. In a deep saucepan add enough water to reach at least 3inches high. Bring water to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer again.
  12. Add 1 TBSP of vinegar to water. Have eggs individually cracked into small bowl or sauce tray and while swirling simmering water, slide eggs one at a time into the water.
  13. Cook eggs for 3-4 minutes, remove egg from water with a slotted spoon and GENTLY pat dry with paper towel.
  14. Time to assemble! Place spinach mushroom mixture over squash , add smoked salmon or prosciutto pieces, poached egg, hollandaise, and sprinkle with paprika.

Authors Note:
Do not add more than two eggs at a time to your simmering water. If the eggs stick to the bottom when you slide them in the water, don’t panic, just use a fork or utensil to scrape off the bottom. 
The outside of the squash is edible, and adds some variety in texture to the meal.

This dish is light and will surely impress guests. It is the complete package, providing you with complex carbs from the squash (hello fiber and B-vitamins) instead of refined carbs from the English muffin (remember, complex carbs break down slower and therefore keep us from having those premature energy crashes) It also provides lean protein in this dish in the form of eggs, kefir/yogurt, and salmon.

Not to mention the fantastic omega-3’s you’re getting from the salmon. Omegas 3’s are important for proper brain functioning; they are actually thought to decrease severity of depression and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

 Lastly, spinach! Oh how I love spinach- it’s considered one of the most nutrient packed foods with the least amount of calories. Notable nutrients that spinach provides include vitamin K, vitamin A, Folate, and even a decent amount of iron!

Now, let’s create some beautiful food.