This week’s Comfort Food Feast for the Food Network is all about potatoes – my favorite. Nothing makes me happier or lightens a tough day. This gluten-free version of Eggs Benedict uses crispy hash brown patties in place of the traditional English muffins. I promise you won’t even miss the bread and everyone at your table will love the variety!
The Artist and I met on St. Patrick’s Day 20 years ago! We are celebrating with a whole week of Irish inspired recipes. One breakfast, one dinner, and two desserts – now that sounds like a celebration to me! Fried potatoes and onions for breakfast, what could be more Irish than that. Oh yeah, covering them with a beautiful poached egg and a creamy green-tinged sauce. This gluten-free version of Eggs Benedict uses crispy hash brown patties in place of the traditional English muffins. I promise, you won’t even miss the bread!
I have always loved latkes and miss them because they are usually made with flour. By using frozen shredded hash browns (Ore-Ida is a nationally available brand that is gluten-free) you take most of the work out of making them. Adding a little shredded onion adds a lot of flavor and stirring in a beaten egg makes it really easy to form little potato patties that fry up beautifully.
The thought of making a hollandaise sauce can strike fear in the heart of the most experienced chefs. Basically you are trying to get oil and water to coexist happily in the same space without separating – yep, nearly impossible. And contrary to popular belief, I do make mistakes and this was one of them. When using the traditional method to make hollandaise my sauce broke, and none of the regular fixes worked. I didn’t want to throw it out and start over, so I hit the Internet.
I went looking for some help and that’s when I found James Kenji Lopez-Alt’s miracle 2 minute hollandaise. He is the author of The Food Lab and a seriously talented man in the kitchen. He has a wonderful way of making hollandaise that is extremely easy and very nearly foolproof. Instead of heating the eggs and trying to maintain an emulsion, he reverses it, adding hot butter to cool egg yolks, reducing the possibility of breakage. Also, by using an immersion or stick blender, you can have the sauce made in about 2 minutes without any whisking! Hallelujah!
Too bad I didn’t know this trick when I started today. I transferred my broken sauce to a small mixing cup I have, inserted the immersion blender and with some work, the powerful blending made an acceptable sauce. Not as silky as I like, but the flavor was fantastic. I’m sure if I had started with the immersion blender it would have been outstanding!
Another fun tool I have is Michael Ruhlman’s Bad Ass Egg Spoon – yes folks, that is its actual name. It is an all-purpose perforated spoon for use in any number of recipes, but it was designed specifically to separate the more watery egg whites from the firmer ones and yolks. This gives you less floating whites in the water when you poach eggs and cleaner, prettier eggs. Take a look at this video where Michael explains and demonstrates how it works. I use this all the time for a wide variety of tasks and was excited when I got the same results with separating the two types of egg white proteins. If you look at the close ups you can see how neat the edges of the eggs are – this is without trimming like most professional kitchens do. Awesome tool!
I did add food coloring because I wanted the plate to be very festive. The color of your sauce will vary depending on the amount and freshness of your herbs. Dried herbs (other than Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried varieties) will not add any beautiful pop of green and nowhere near the amount of flavor.
If you want to thrill your children with a really fun St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, start their day with these eggs.
Erin Go Bragh!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Make the potato patties ahead to cut down on the time required to get these on the table. The sauce can be made an hour or two early and kept warm on the back of the stove. Just make sure you have everything ready to go because once the eggs are done you need to move quickly.
Make sure that the brand of hash browns you buy are gluten-free to be safe. I use Ore-Ida brand, readily available in California and most of the country.
- Hash Brown Patties
- 4 cups shredded hash brown potatoes - a 16 oz bag will give you about 5 cups (Ore-Ida brand is gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup shredded onions
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten well
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- Basil Hollandaise Sauce
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove pulp
- 2 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- 2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley or Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Parsley
- 3 tsp chopped fresh basil or Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Basil
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- Green food coloring, optional
- 8 to 12 slices Canadian bacon, Irish bacon, or thin-sliced ham, kept warm in the oven; spritz with a little water to keep it from drying out
- 8 to 12 large eggs
- 2 tbsp very finely minced orange bell pepper, for garnish
- Fresh chives, for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with paper towels.
- Make the Hash Brown Patties: Place the frozen potatoes in a colander and thaw for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. By the time you have all the other ingredients assembled and prepped, the potatoes should be ready. It is OK if they aren’t completely thawed. Pour onto the paper-towel lined baking sheet and pat dry. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Line the baking sheet with more paper towels.
- Grate the onion and put on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry and add the onions to the bowl with the potatoes. Sprinkle the cornstarch, salt and pepper over the onions and potatoes. Toss them together with your hands until everything is evenly coated with the cornstarch mixture. Lightly beat the egg and pour it over the potatoes. Stir until all the potatoes are evenly moistened with the egg. Scoop out 1/4-cup measures of the potato mixture and place on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Press and gently flatten each portion into patties.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add about 4 to 5 of the potato patties, leaving room between each one so they can be easily flipped. Fry in batches, adding more oil as needed. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Flip the parchment paper on the baking sheet over so the clean side is up. Using a slotted spatula, transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. If you want, add the Canadian bacon to the same baking sheet and warm it at the same time.
- Prepare the Basil Hollandaise Sauce: This technique is borrowed from J.Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer and author of The Food Lab for Serious Eats. For the science behind emulsions check out his awesome video, especially helpful for those how learn better by watching.
- Set out your immersion blender and the mixing cup that came with it or a tall slender glass that is just big enough for the head of the blender to fit. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling and it registers about 220°F on an instant read thermometer. Pour the hot butter into a heatproof measuring cup.
- In the blending cup, place the yolks, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper (if using). Insert the blender and beat the ingredients together until smooth, about 5 seconds. With the blender running, very slowly drizzle in the hot butter, moving the blender up and down a little as the mixture expands. The heat of the butter will cook the eggs, and the eggs will act as an emulsifier creating a creamy, luxurious sauce. Add the herbs and blend until smooth. The herbs will lightly color the sauce. If you want a more vibrant green color for St. Patrick’s Day, add a drop or two of food coloring and stir it in. Your children will love it!
- The sauce is best used right away, but if you need to make it ahead, place it in a saucepan, cover with a lid and keep warm over very low heat on a burner at the back of your stove. Stir occasionally.
- Prepare for Assembly: Gently warm the Canadian bacon (easily done by adding to the same tray as the cooked potato patties in the oven). Have everything set up before you start cooking the eggs and serving. Place two potato patties on each serving plate and top with one slice of the meat. Turn off the oven but keep the door closed to hold in the heat. Keep the food and plates warm in the oven while you cook the eggs.
- Poach the Eggs: In a large, deep skillet add water until about 3/4 full and set over medium heat. Bring to just below a simmer - the water will be steaming and small bubbles will form around the edges. Lightly salt the water, stirring to dissolve.
- Break each egg into a small bowl (or Michael Ruhlman’s spoon, see note above), give the water a stir and slide them gently into the water one at a time. The swirling water will help the loose egg whites wrap around the egg. You can cook about 4 to 5 eggs at a time. Cook to desired doneness, spooning the water over the top to cook the yolks if they are not fully submerged. Scoop out of the water with a slotted spoon, tap the bottom of the spoon on a paper towel to remove excess water. Place one egg on each potato patty and spoon some of the Hollandaise over the top of each. Sprinkle with some of the chives and orange bell pepper (for the colors of the Irish flag) and serve immediately.
- Technique for making the Hollandaise adapted lightly from J.Kenji Lopez-Alt, writer of The Food Lab for Serious Eats
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings; about 1-1/2 cups sauce
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Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for reading!
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