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Cook’s Notes – Gluten Free Benny BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato, Eggs Benedict Style)

Gluten-Free BLT Eggs BenedictMaking the Gluten-Free Benny BLT was a fun one to put together. Not only is it a chance to practice a few techniques – poaching eggs, making hollandaise sauce, plating for visual appeal – but it’s a chance to use some fantastic cured pork I had prepared myself as part of The French Pig workshop.

Let’s talk bottom-up on this one, then:

Tomatoes are great when they’re ripe and in season, and bland when they aren’t. None of them looked right in the grocery store, but I was able to find some really nice ones from local farmers at Revival Market. Don’t do this with a sub-par tomato; find something else – a biscuit, an English muffin, some baked beans – to substitute.

There’s a bit of a story behind the parsnip leaves. What I really wanted – what I had my heart set on – was a nice crisp piece of Boston lettuce. Not too big, but curved slightly to act as a cup for the bacon and egg. However, this is one of the hazards of eating locally from good markets – occasionally, they don’t have what you want. I asked for any other lettuce, which they were out of – and reminded me that the day prior, they had done a Burger Sunday special to strong demand and had used every bit of lettuce they had. Whoops. There were bunches of beet greens and other strong greens, but these were going to be far too earthy and bitter for what I wanted.

If not having something is a hazard, then one of the saving graces is the people on hand. Always, ALWAYS build a relationship, not just a transaction, with the people who provide you with food. In this case, Edgar came to my rescue. I asked about the parsnips leaves (I’ve tried using carrot greens before, but with limited success). In a chain grocery, I’d have gotten a “we don’t sell that” response. In contrast, Edgar’s reply was “Let’s try it!”. He came out to the produce case, pulled a leaf off a parsnip, tasted it, and suggested it might just work for what I was doing – and cut off a small bunch for me. It’s these little moments that make getting to know your suppliers so useful.

The bacon is shown in pieces. It works. Truth be told, I had wanted to cook it and keep its spiral shape, but I didn’t think to put a press on it as it cooked in the test batch (hey, any excuse to eat more bacon) and it tightened up into a bowl shape instead. Afterwards, I tried it with a press to some success but still curling action. Lardons are best here.

There’s an entire other post coming on how to poach an egg – this is one of those things that are surrounded by as much kitchen myth and old tales as actual science. Short version – hot-but-not-boiling water, deeper than you think you need, and have a few extra eggs on hand.

If I describe hollandaise sauce as just a warm mayonnaise that uses butter for the oil, some of you might realize how easy it is to make a hollandaise. (Of course, for anybody who followed that description, you’ve probably already covered making hollandaise.) I did this one over a double boiler because I could do a small volume that way and because I wanted to see if I could do it the old-fashioned way. I’ve not tried it, but I believe it can be done with a stick blender in small quantities – the hot butter will heat up the egg yolks – and I’ve seen it done in larger quantities in a proper blender. There’s still something fun about doing it by hand, though, so whisk away!

The chives on top are there for a bit of flavor but to really give a shot of color to the dish. Adding small accents of green at the last moment does a lot to make a plate seem more fresh and enjoyable.

And that’s about it! I won’t say this was especially fast to put together, but with a bit of practice it will be. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the original recipe post for the Gluten-Free Benny BLT if you haven’t already!

Gluten Free Benny BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Eggs Benedict Style)

Gluten Free Eggs Benedict BLT

Back in April, Mike went off to the state of the art butchery classroom at Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Arts, Oklahoma City to attend The French Pig: Farmstead Charcuterie Two-Day Workshop. (Mike will be writing about the whole experience soon, and if you are curious you can read more at the Kitchen at Camont website.)

One of the many pork items he came home with was ventrèche roulée, also known as French bacon.

French Pig ventrèche roulée bacon

French Pig ventrèche roulée bacon

Inspired by the French bacon, Mike decided he wanted to make gluten-free Eggs Benedict. In order to make them gluten-free, he could not use an English muffin as the base. Thinking of various options, he thought of using a thick slice of tomato, and from there he created the Benny BLT – Eggs Benedict meets the BLT, all without the bread so it is gluten-free.

Cutting thick slices of tomato for the BLT base

For the base, he started with a thick cut slice of tomato from Revival Market. Revival was out of lettuce the day he was there, so instead he used parsnip tops as the “lettuce” in the BLT.

Cooking the bacon lardons for the Benny BLT

Next came the ventrèche roulée, the French bacon, which he cut in to lardons and cooked over medium heat until they were well seared and the fat was rendered out of them.

Separating the egg yolks for Hollandaise sauce

To prepare the Hollandaise sauce, he separated the yolks of two eggs. Mike prefers to do this by hand so that he makes sure he doesn’t break the yolk and so he can separate all the whites out. He discarded the egg whites along with the shells, which are in the bowl beneath his hands.

Preparing the Hollandaise sauce

Preparing the Hollandaise sauce involves whisking so fast that it was hard for me to photograph it. You get the point though – if you want it to come together, whisk it quickly.

Poaching an egg

Mike then poached an egg to place on top of the BLT. Meanwhile, he arranged the base of the BLT on the plate, ready to add the egg and the sauce over the top.

Benny BLT base, ready for the egg & Hollandaise sauce

The poached egg for the Egg Benedict

The Benny BLT ready for the Hollandaise sauce

Pouring the Hollandaise sauce over the top

The Benny BLT - Gluten Free Eggs Benedict BLT

Gluten Free Benny BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Benedict-style)

Gluten Free Benny BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Benedict-style)

Ingredients

  • 1 thick slice of tomato
  • 1 thick slice of ventreche (French bacon - you can substitute thick-cut bacon instead)
  • 1 leaf of lettuce (Parsnip tops are substituted for the lettuce in the original recipe)
  • 1 egg
  • For the Hollandaise sauce
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5 Tbsp water
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • lemon juice (at least 1 Tbsp; to taste)
  • salt and white pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice tomato and set aside.
  2. Wash, dry, and trim lettuce and set aside.
  3. Cut ventreche (or thick-cut bacon) into lardons and cook in pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When well seared and fat rendered, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare Hollandaise sauce (below) and hold in gently warmed saucepan.
  5. Poaching the Egg
  6. Bring water to simmer in wide, shallow pan. Whirl water to create motion. Crack egg just at surface of water and drop gently into pot. Leave it alone for 4-5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to an ice bath to shock and stop the cooking.
  7. To serve: Place the tomato in the center of the plate. Place lettuce on tomato. Arrange ventreche on top. Rewarm poached egg in hot water for 30 seconds and perch on top. Spoon over hollandaise sauce. Garnish with chives.
  8. Hollandaise Sauce
  9. In a bain marie or double boiler (or a large bowl set over simmering water), whisk egg and water together until frothy. Keep going until egg thickens and tracks are evident in bottom of pan, but before egg has scrambled.
  10. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in butter in 1 Tbsp chunks. If the sauce cools too much to melt butter, return bowl to heat. Season, whisk in lemon juice, taste and adjust as desired.
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