Using fried eggplant instead of english muffins makes for a delicious low carb Eggs Benedict recipe. And learn some tricks to perfectly poached eggs! This post is sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs.
Poaching eggs is a true culinary skill and it’s one I have yet to fully master. In truth, I was afraid to try for a long time because it seemed to fiddly, so delicate, and I can be rather heavy-handed when it comes to eggs. Done right, poached eggs are lovely but left to my own devices, I would rather plop an egg in a hot pan with butter and fry it. It’s just easier and I am less likely to mess it up. Not much to mess up with a fried egg. But I love Eggs Benedict and I’ve been thinking of making it with eggplant in place of the english muffins for a while now. Eggplant is the perfect low carb muffin replacement because it has a mild flavor and it soaks up sauces and oils just like bread. The joy of Eggs Benedict is sopping up the runny yolk and the rich Hollandaise with the bread. Or in this case, with the eggplant. And as I have recently become one of The Darling Dozen, a group of brand ambassadors for Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs, I really wanted to bring my idea to fruition. These pasteurized shell eggs are ideal for undercooked egg recipes like Eggs Benny.
You also have to try this method for Instant Pot Poached Eggs!
My brother in law was here a few weeks ago and I picked his brain on poaching eggs as he eats them almost every morning these days. So we had a little egg-poaching tutorial where he showed me how to swirl the water and create a vortex to hold the white together when it hits the water. And although it seemed simple enough, I still didn’t feel very confident in my abilities. Then a few days later I fortuitously came across something about using a fine-mesh sieve to poach the eggs. Of course, I couldn’t find the reference again when I tried to hunt it up, but Google is ever so useful in that regard and I found this video about draining some of the more watery whites off through a sieve before rolling it gently into the simmering water. The video gave several other great tips so I decided to get crackin’ (pun intended) and practice poaching eggs. My first few tries were not great, and I ended up with multi-tentacled whites that resembled jellyfish, but I got my water temperature a little higher and the next few came out round and pretty. Having done this a few times now, I seem to have trouble with the first egg every time, but the subsequent eggs always come out a little better.
If ever you wanted to learn to poach an egg properly, I highly suggest watching this LifeHacker video. And no worries about wasting eggs…the crazy jellyfish eggs might not look pretty but they still taste great.
Now to put my Eggplant Benedict idea to the test. I used Safest Choice for both the eggs and the Hollandaise sauce, so I wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally poisoning anyone. Safest Choice certainly makes it a lot easier to be carefree about ingesting undercooked or raw eggs, and as an inveterate batter-taster, that’s pretty important to me. And I find them slightly easier to poach than conventional eggs, I think perhaps because the pasteurization process firms up the white a little while it’s still in the shell. Benedict is a complicated dish only in that everything needs to be cooking and come together just at the right time. You want your Hollandaise to still be warm and your eggplant to be just off the pan when those eggs get poached. To make things easier on myself, I made the Hollandaise first, before I fried the eggplant and poached the eggs. And the eggplant rounds made the perfect base for my poached eggs, and soaked up the runny yolks and creamy Hollandaise just as I thought they would. I now feel a lot more confident about making a decent Eggs Benedict!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs. All opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.
Eggplant Benedict – Low Carb and Gluten-Free
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 slices eggplant about 1/2 inch thick each
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices Canadian bacon or ham or regular bacon, cooked crisp
- Paprika for sprinkling
For the hollandaise:
- Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).
- Slowly drizzle in melted butter and keep whisking until mixture thickens. Do not overcook.
- Remove from heat and whisk in salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and set aside while preparing eggplant and eggs.
For the eggplant:
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add eggplant slices.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until tender and mostly translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
- To poach the eggs, fill a large pot about half full with water. Bring to just a boil, then reduce heat so it is just simmering (I found that about 180F to 185F on an instant-read thermometer was perfect).
- Break each egg individually into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and let the watery part of the white drain out. Add egg to water and repeat with remaining eggs, cooking each about 3 minutes and gently turning over each egg once during cooking. Cook until white is set but the yolk remains soft.
- Remove with a slotted spoon to let water drain off.
- To assemble, top each eggplant slice with ham or bacon.
- Top this with a poached egg, then drizzle with hollandaise (if the sauce has thickened while cooking everything else, simply add a tsp or so of warm water and whisk briskly).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with paprika.