Zucchini Benedict

Zucchini Benedict

Words cannot express how much I love this dish.  It’s creamy, savory, lemony, sweet, tart, rich, eggy, a little bit crisp underneath…everything you could possibly want in anything you might eat, but especially in a vegetarian dish.  As a way to use up some of the most ubiquitous summer produce, it’s a definite keeper.  The recipe as I’ve outlined it below serves 6 — two benedicts per person.

3 cups shredded zucchini
3 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 1/2 cups cooked fresh corn
2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites, beaten
3/4 cup white whole wheat, all-purpose, or spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 large egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 large tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
12 eggs, poached or fried, as you prefer
About 4 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking the zucchini cakes

To assemble the zucchini cakes, first place the zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze gently to remove some of the moisture.  Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl and add the onion and corn.  Stir in the beaten egg until thoroughly combined.  Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and mix (I recommend using a fork for this) until everything is evenly distributed and the mixture is like lumpy pancake batter.

Coat a large skillet (Note: I really recommend using something nonstick, cast-iron, etc. for this — I tried it with stainless and it was a disaster) with olive oil.  Place over medium-high heat until the oil begins to ripple slightly and a tiny bit of the batter dropped into the skillet begins to sizzle on contact.  Using a quarter-cup measure, portion the zucchini batter into pancakes in the hot oil.  Cook for about 4 minutes per side, until they’re golden brown and release easily from the pan (if they’re stuck, they’re probably not quite ready to flip).

While the pancakes are cooking, make the hollandaise sauce.  Combine the egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender; blend on high speed until mixed, about 30 seconds.  With the blender running, slowly pour in the melted butter.  Add the salt and pepper and blend for an additional 2-3 minutes to fully incorporate the ingredients and make the sauce smooth and light.

When all of the pancakes have been removed from the pan, add the tomato slices and cook them 1-2 minutes per side, just until they begin to soften and caramelize.  To assemble the dish, place the griddled tomato slices on the zucchini cakes, top each with a poached or fried egg, and pour the hollandaise sauce over the top.