Eggs Benedict has always been one of my favorite brunch indulgences but I love when I find healthy variations of it on restaurant menus. Enter my favorite vegetable- the artichoke. I was eating a whole artichoke for dinner one night and when I got to the heart of it, I realized that it was the perfect little shape for a poached egg to rest in. Since then, I’ve been scouring the internet for the perfect sauce to top this idea off with. I wanted to do something a little different than the usual Hollandaise, and I finally came across a great recipe for red pepper aioli that made my mouth water a little bit.
Last night, I created this dish and while it was no Canadian bacon and English muffin, It was quite tasty. The only drawback for me was that the aioli wasn’t as thick as I would have liked it to be and it was missing that tang of traditional Hollandaise. Next time I might add a little something extra in between the egg and the artichoke heart or create a tangier sauce to give it more bite. I also recommend trying this when artichokes are in season (summer, spring, fall) as you’ll find much larger, more beautiful artichokes. My artichoke heart was a bit overshadowed by my egg on this one. That aside, the flavors married really well and it turned out to be a great healthy alternative to traditional Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine.
Here’s how I made it…
To prepare the artichoke, cut the bottom stalk off and cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke (this helps to remove the prickly leaves at the top and opens the artichoke up to allow for better steaming). Using a scissor, trim the pointy tops of the remaining leaves on the artichoke so that the top of each leaf has a flat edge. Trimming these is important so you don’t prick yourself when removing and eating the leaves. Place the whole artichoke on top of steamer in a pot of boiling water (water should come up just over steamer). Place lid on pot allowing for some steam to get out and let steam for about 45 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, try removing a leaf from the outside and inside of the artichoke. If both come off easily, the artichoke is ready. You can eat the leaves of the artichoke and dip in the aioli, saving the heart for the main dish.
While the artichoke is steaming, prepare the aioli. Make sure you remove any of the stringy “choke” pieces from the heart before eating (they’re called choke for a reason).
Red Pepper Aioli from A Spicy Perspective:
3 egg yolks
1 garlic clove
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
1 jarred roasted red pepper, drained
1 cup oil of choice (I used Grapeseed oil)
Place the egg yolks, garlic, cayenne and slat in the food processor. Puree until smooth, then add the red pepper and puree until smooth again. While the mixture is pureeing slowly pour in the oil. Puree until the mixture has emulsified to your desired consistency. Taste, then salt as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When artichoke is close to finishing or while you’re eating the leaves, prepare the poached egg in a separate small pot. Bring 4 inches of water and 2 tbsp of white vinegar to boil and reduce to simmer. Crack the egg into a small cup or bowl and carefully drop it into the simmering water, using a spoon to pull any whites towards the yolk. Let simmer for about 4 minutes and remove with small strainer and place on top of artichoke heart. Pour red pepper aioli on top of the egg.