Last week, I finally got around to creating a dedicated recipe page for Communal Table, something Jenny and I had talked about doing for a while as a way to make it easier for readers to check out the recipes we post here without having to read through all our posts. In the process of doing that, I spent time going through everything we’ve posted over the past year and categorizing our recipes by main ingredient. Out of the 33 recipes we’ve posted, only about a dozen have included meat, fish or seafood.
Jenny’s been a significant influence on both my cooking and eating habits, in terms of easing me out of my tendency toward cooking with – and eating – meat. I’ve always understood that eating less meat and more vegetarian protein is a good thing, but it wasn’t until we met and she brought the appreciation for cooking without meat to our relationship that I really began to think about it.
In the spirit of cooking with less meat, this one’s another egg recipe. File this one under recipe ideas that come into my brain randomly while I’m trying to be productive at work but really thinking about food. Eggs benedict is one of my favourite breakfast dishes, but it’s something I rarely allow myself to eat anymore now that I understand the fat and sodium content of delicious ham and hollandaise sauce, and the complete lack of nutritional value in an English muffin. In this recipe, a zucchini latke takes the place of the English muffin, while the heavy hollandaise sauce is replaced with a light smoked paprika yogurt sauce that turned out, frankly, to be just as satisfying as hollandaise.
As an aside, I’ve never made latkes and wanted these to be healthier than the traditional oil-fried ones. So I did a google search for baked zucchini latkes, followed the recipe I found, and expected it to turn out great. It didn’t. They didn’t brown and ended up a bit of a mess after an extended cooking time in the oven. I have a few theories as to why this happened, the most logical being that I was too rushed trying to make this recipe on a weeknight and didn’t take the time to squeeze enough liquid from the zucchini and onion, which prevented adequate browning. Nevertheless, these came out of the oven and ended up in the frying pan where they turned out great. The recipe below reflects the successful frying pan method, but I’m still determined to find a workable baked zucchini latke recipe – if anyone out there has one, let me know.
The recipe below made enough for three servings of two bennys each, with a couple of latkes leftover.
Eggs Benedict with Zucchini Latkes and Smoked Paprika Hollandaise
For zucchini latkes:
4 large zucchini
½ C flour
¼ C breadcrumbs
1 tsp baking powder
Grate zucchini and onion (we used a box grater, but a food processor would probably be even better). Wrap grated zucchini and onion in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much moisture out as you can. This will take several minutes, but is totally worth the effort (as I mention above).
Crack eggs into a mixing bowl. Add zucchini and onion to bowl, along with all dry ingredients and generous grinds of salt and pepper. Mix everything together well. Form into flat round discs and fry in enough oil to cover the bottom of a pan, over medium-high heat. Cook a few minutes per side until nicely browned.
For smoked paprika hollandaise:
In a bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of plain 1% yogurt, the juice of half a lemon (we used a Meyer, which added a bit more sweetness), a squirt of sriracha, half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a pinch of sugar. The lack of precise measurements in this recipe is because we basically just made it to taste, which I find is the easiest way to prepare a sauce. As long as you start with a sufficient amount of yogurt for the number of benedict servings you’re preparing, and enough smoked paprika to get the smoky flavour you want in this, the sauce will turn out fine.
To prepare benedict, place zucchini latkes on plates (we served two per person), top each with a poached egg and a generous spoonful of the smoked paprika hollandaise. Serve with a simple green salad for a light, delicious meal that even the biggest meat eater will enjoy.