Klunker's egg-less benedict
A while back, I was asked my my friend Marianne to come up with a substitution recipe for eggs benedict. I wrote down the request and decided to take on the challenge when I had a little more time to explore and really come up with a good substitution.
In my head, it had to be good. It had to be something that would resemble the original, but still be plant-based and loaded with flavor. There are many different recipes out there for plant-based benedicts, and most of them are great. But I wanted it to be unique, so I set out to build it layer by layer, and the end result was amazing.
I found a recipe for a bacon substitution made out of rice paper. I was skeptical at first, but finally made it, and talk about flavor and the perfect addition to this dish. It is smoky, and amazing. The original recipe, from the creators of the "fake bacon" is here http://www.veganer.nu/opskrift/laekon-strimler-pande/. It is in Danish and English, and all credit goes to the owners. I did have to adjust the recipe though, because it called for oil. I will include my instructions for the adjustment below.
Also, I am going to break this recipe down into groups for each component. It seems like a lot, but it really came together fast.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and it becomes a regular feature on your Sunday morning brunch menu.
For the hollandaise sauce:
1 cup cauliflower. Cut into small pieces
1 cup water (for cooking the cauliflower)
1/2 cup soaked and drained raw cashew nuts (soaked at least 2 hours, overnight is better)
1 cup unsweetened plant milk (I used almond milk)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Juice from one lemon
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
For the stack:
2 large yukon gold potatoes, washed and shrdded
1 package extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (I used a round cookie cutter to shape them, but it is not required)
1/2 lb. asparagus. Use thin stalks if you can find them, cut into 3-4 inch pieces.
salt and pepper to taste
One recipe of laekon bacon (http://www.veganer.nu/opskrift/laekon-strimler-pande/) (I made the recipe as is, but replaced the oil for aquafaba. I then cooked the strips in the oven. The instructions for the oven cooking is in the original recipe. You can make this "bacon" a day ahead. It stays crisp and delicious. If you make it the day of, make sure to factor the additional time into your preparation) I wanted to make sure to share the original recipe, as it is great just as it is (except the oil sub I did)
OK, here we go, lets make the sauce first.
In a small saucepan, combine the cauliflower and water. Cover with a lid and let steam for 10-12 minutes, until very tender. Almost overcooked. Drain very well.
In a good blender, combine all of the hollandaise sauce ingredients (cooked cauliflower, nuts, milk, mustard, lemon juice and spices) Blend until very smooth. Pour into the small saucepan you cooked your cauliflower in, and set on the stove, over low heat to keep warm.
If you have not made the laekon bacon yet, this is the time to do it.
Follow the instructions as they are written, just replace the oil with aquafaba, and bake the strips. I found because I used the aquafaba, frying them made them stick and not turn out as good. All of the instructions are in Danish and English, so just scroll down to see the English.
Now, place a large saute pan on the stove, over medium high heat. (my pan is big enough to put all the next items on at the same time)
After the pan has heated up, place two stacks of shredded potatoes. I made mine about 4 inches in diameter, and about 1/2 inch thick. I pressed down and used the spatula to shape round. (these are replacing your English muffins)
Next, place your tofu in the pan. Again, I used a cookie cutter to shape into round pieces (these are your egg replacements) Season with salt and pepper.
Now, at this point, you are asking about sticking. If you are patient, the food will not stick. It pretty much decides when it is ready to turn. Don't force it, just let it cook until it releases from the pan.
Cook the potatoes and the tofu for about 10 minutes, and then turn. Cook another 10 minutes. Remove the tofu onto a plate and cover. Continue to cook the potatoes until they are golden brown and done throughout.
You can steam or saute your asparagus. As you can see in the picture above, you can just add it to your pan. Wet them down in the sink and just put in the pan. The water left on the pieces will help steam them. You don't want to overcook them, just cook long enough for them not to be raw (about 10 minutes total)
****( I think this is a good time to throw out a few adjustments for those not wanting to use tofu or nuts in the recipe. If you don't want to use tofu, you can replace that with a few small portobello caps that have been stemmed and gilled. It will work very well, and taste amazing. Just cook them like the tofu. Also, the sauce called for cashews. You can replace them with the same measurement of sunflower seeds, also soaked and drained)*** I hope that helps.
NOW, as I said, there are a few steps for this recipe and this isn't one I would make every day. But for a Sunday brunch, oh yea!
The rest of the recipe is pretty cut and dry. Assemble the stacks!
On a plate, place two of the potato rounds. On top of them, place the tofu, then the asparagus.
Now, pour as much sauce as you like (I was a pig and drenched the damn things) Finally, crunch up a couple slices of the laekon bacon. You can choose if you want more. I found two slices pretty good.
Garnish with some lemon slices and a sprinkle of pepper.
I hope this recipe serves you well, and you take your time with it. It is a special addition to your brunch and if you take your time, it will be one of your favorites.