The perfect, gluten-free eggs benny is surprisingly easy to whip up

During my twenties, a disproportionately large number of my Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent curled into a red pleather booth across from my friend Karen at the Tomato Café in the Cambie Village. 

We drank Americanos with soy milk and honey, hashed out the gory, glorious details of the night before and waited, heads throbbing a little, for Eggs Benedict with Yogurt Hollandaise.

The dish was rich enough to give our hangovers a good scare but wholesome and light enough that we didn’t have to go home and roll back into bed. 

When the Tomato moved to West Broadway and then finally closed, I channeled my wistfulness into re-imagining our favorite dish into one that’s gluten-free, ever so slightly more elegant but down to earth enough to eat while I’m hashing out the gories with a girlfriend, because some things never change.

Ingredients

Polenta Cakes:

  • 2 cups prepared polenta (I use Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits. If you’re making from scratch rather than using leftovers, use the package directions for cooking grits as this doesn’t require adding extra fat.)
  • 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped (If you use the ones that come soaked in oil, soak up as much of the oil as you can on a paper towel or coffee filter. If you use dried, soak in hot water for 1-2 hours ahead of time and dry well.)
  • Warm, filtered water
  • Butter to grease the skillet

Yogurt Hollandaise:

  • 3/4 cup good quality Greek yogurt (I use Liberty non-fat as I find it keeps the Hollandaise from tasting sour.)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 big pinches white pepper
  • Big dash of hot sauce (I prefer the Valentina brand.)

Plus:

  • 8 poached eggs
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced for garnish

Instructions

Yogurt Hollandaise:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan or the bottom of a double boiler about half full of water. Turn it on high. When it boils, reduce to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium metal bowl or the top of a double boiler, whisk together the yogurt, yolks, lemon juice, mustard and white pepper.
  3. Reduce heat and place the sauce over the simmering water.
  4. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  5. Let stand for up to one hour, re-heat gently over double boiler if necessary.

Polenta Cakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the polenta with the sundried tomatoes.
  3. Mix in warm water a teaspoon at a time until there are no lumps, the tomatoes are evenly distributed and the polenta can be formed into cakes.
  4. Loosely form small patties that are about the size of a deck of cards.
  5. Heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) to medium high.
  6. When it is hot, add butter or oil and distribute evenly on the surface of the skillet. 
  7. Place polenta cakes in skillet and cook until firm but a little crumbly and lightly golden, 3-4 minutes per side. Turn very gently.
  8. Place them on a plate in a warm oven covered loosely with foil.

To assemble:

  1. Poach your eggs.
  2. Arrange two polenta cakes on a plate.
  3. Top each with three thin slices of avocado, one poached egg and about two tablespoons of hollandaise per egg.
  4. Serve immediately.

Serves four with two eggs and two cakes each.