If People magazine were to release an issue of the “Most Eligible Breakfast Foods,” Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Hollandaise would be the cover.
Think about it. Eggs Benedict is the total package. It combines all of the main breakfast food groups—toasty carbs, runny eggs, and savory meat—then smothers them in an irresponsibly rich hollandaise. Who wouldn’t want a date with that kind of decadence, if only for one morning? I eagerly order eggs Benedict when I’m out on the town, but it’s not a dish I’d bring home to mom, for a few reasons.
One: Eggs Benedict may be easy on the eyes, but it’s hard on the heart. Literally. Hollandaise is an emulsion of butter and egg yolks, the meat used is not lean, and the English muffin rarely incorporates whole grains.
Two: Eggs Benedict is high maintenance. Who wants to stress about emulsifying eggs on a Saturday morning? Not this girl. I want a brunch dish who isn’t fussier than I am, thank you very much.
Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Hollandaise, however, swept me off of my feet. This healthy twist on classic eggs Benedict that is both lightered up and attainable for a home cook. Not only is this version much better for you, I found the robust flavors of nutty farina (more on that soon), sweet sundried tomatoes, garlicky arugula, and creamy goat cheese far more satisfying that the original.
Let’s build our Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Hollandaise! In place of the English muffin, the base of Arugula Eggs Benedict is a crispy farina cake. Farina is more commonly known as “cream of wheat,” and if you have bad childhood memories of icky, soggy of mush (as I did), now is the time to listen to your therapist and put them behind you. I used Bob’s Red Mill’s Whole Wheat Farina, which boasts a satisfying, nutty flavor and hearty texture. While farina is typically prepared as a creamy porridge, it can also be cooled, sliced, and pan seared into tasty little cakes. Not only are these farina cakes much more healthier and more filling than a classic English muffin, but also, they are better equipped to transport the slew of eggs Benedict toppings we are about to pile on thick.
In place of the standard bacon or ham, I swapped fresh arugula sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Its vibrant, peppery flavor stands up to the hearty farina, and the leafy greens provide a healthy boost of nutrients. Next we have the classic poached egg with its delicately soft, runny yolk. If you are intimidated by poaching eggs, fear not—I’ve included an easy step-by-step. Should you choose to substitute a fried egg for ease, I won’t judge.
The crowing glory of our Arugula Eggs Benedict is a goat cheese sundried tomato “hollandaise.” It’s not technically a hollandaise (since hollandaise by definition is comprised of butter and egg yolks and the goat cheese sauce has neither), but its texture is just as luxurious and—I’ll say it—I prefer the sundried tomato goat cheese sauce. It’s creamy, dreamy and flavor-packed. Plus, it’s far healthier and easier to prepare than hollandaise, and its dynamic flavor has more to offer. We loved this goat cheese sundried tomato sauce so much, I’ve started making extra batches to spread onto sandwiches and top pastas. Try it once and you will be equally addicted!
Arugula Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Hollandaise combines simplicity of farina with the indulgence of eggs Benedict, all with less guilt. Bring it home to mom, give it your heart, and live happily ever after!
Arugula Eggs Benedict with Crispy Farina Cakes
For the Farina Cakes:
For the Goat Cheese Sundried Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes dry, not oil-packed
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne Pppper
For the Garlic Arugula:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 4 cloves
- 7 ounces arugula leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
For the Poached Eggs:
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Prepare the farina cakes: Lightly oil a 9×9-inch baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt. Whisk in farina, reduce heat to low, and stir briskly to prevent lumps from forming. Cover and cook on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking and stirring until the farina is the consistency of a very thick porridge. Pour into the prepared dish, smooth the top, and let stand until no longer steaming, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold and set, about 1-1/2 hours. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 days).
- When ready to serve: Place a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 200°F. Invert the set farina onto a large cutting board. Cut into squares with a knife or into 3-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter (cutting into squares will yield more cakes—biscuit cutters will leave some scraps.) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the farina cakes for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Repeat until all of the cakes are seared, adding more butter and oil as needed. Remove to a baking sheet and keep warm in preheated oven until ready to serve.
- Prepare the sundried tomato goat cheese sauce: Place sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate. Let sit 5 minutes, then drain. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the milk, drained sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, mustard, lemon juice, and cayenne. Blend until mostly smooth (the sundried tomatoes will still be a little chunky.)
- Prepare the garlic arugula: In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the arugula, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat with garlic and oil. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat to high, and cook for additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring until the arugula is wilted. Turn off heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
- Poach the eggs: Fill a deep saucepot with 1 inch of water and add vinegar. Heat water until just below the simmering point (small bubbles will appear all over the bottom of the pan but will not break the water’s surface.) Reduce heat slightly to keep the water from simmering. Break the first egg into a small dish. Using a rubber spatula, move in a vigorous circular motion around the sides of the pot to create a “whirlpool.” Gently slide the egg from the dish into the whirlpool’s center. Do not worry if the egg appears to be coming apart—the motion of the water will draw the sides in and around. If your egg sticks to the bottom of the pot, wait 30 seconds then gently slide the spatula underneath to loosen it. Cook egg for 3-4 minutes, until it only jiggles a little when nudged with the spatula. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining eggs. Just before serving, you can slip the eggs back into the warm (not simmering) water briefly to rewarm them if desired.
- Serve: Top each farina cake with a spoonful of sauce, the sautéed arugula, a poached egg, and then another spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.
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More breakfast favorites:
- Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche
- Apple Cinnamon Brown Rice Farina from The Roasted Root
- Mardi Gras King Cake French Toast
- Eggs Benedict Strata from Taste and Tell
Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Bob’s Red Mill and received compensation for recipe development. As always, all opinions are my own.