Benedict Breakfast Sandwich
Eggs benedict. The quintessential Sunday brunch entree. It had been years since I’d had an egg, or found a vegan benedict that satisfied my craving for an over-the-top brunch. Instead of waiting around–armed with my vegan biscuit recipe–I decided to take brunch back with my own version of vegan eggs benedict.
Surprisingly, the biggest challenge here was not in the ingredients, but in the construction. Whether it was a slowly crumbling mound of tofu, a random assemblage of sliced vegetables, or even worse–a dry, flat brick of tempeh–I was turned off by the shape of other vegan benedicts. They lacked the trademark dome of a poached egg draped in glistening hollandaise. My solution was to pour my “egg” batter into dome-shaped molds before baking. With a final coat of sauce, the results were stunning.
And a random assemblage of vegetables underneath made it even better.
The egg batter is made from farina di ceci, or Italian chickpea flour. Specifically, Tuscan chickpea flour. I first tried this in Lucca, a medieval city I visited with my friend Francesca. In the local pizzeria, they spread a batter made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt in a pizza pan and bake it in a brick oven to make a flatbread called farinata. It is finished with a drizzle of olive oil and served sliced, like pizza. You can have them reheat it with toppings, like freshly grated parmesan. But I was in heaven with my crispy-on-the-ouside, tender-in-the-middle plain slice.
Years later, I found farina di ceci in New York City and used it to make vegan omelettes. It is, by far, my favorite egg substitute because not only does it create a light, fluffy texture when prepared correctly, but it has the rich golden yellow hue of egg, and tastes rich and savory, like egg without any of the funkiness. Oh yeah: it also has 3g more protein per serving than an egg.
Vegan Benedict Biscuit Sandwiches
12 ea Coconut Buttermilk Biscuits
12 ea Farina di Ceci Egg Domes (recipe below)
1 ½ cups Saffron & Lemon Aioli
2 ea large heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
½ bunch asparagus, poached, chilled, sliced in half crosswise & lengthwise
1 bunch chives, minced
optional: Anita’s Eggplant Bacon
Slice warm biscuits in half. Place a dollop of aioli on the bottom half and top with a slice of tomato, a layer of asparagus slices, another small dollop of aioli, eggplant bacon (if using), a farina di ceci egg dome, a hearty layer of aioli, and a sprinkle of chives. Scoop out top half of biscuit and place on top. Alternately, place biscuit top alongside so you can show off your beautiful benedict.
Farina di Ceci Egg Domes
2.5 cups water
1 cup farina di ceci (Italian chickpea flour)
2 tbp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk all ingredients together. Coat silicone molds with oil and fill with batter. Alternately, pour batter into small greased cake pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until slightly firm in the middle. Remove and set aside until cool enough to remove from molds. If using cake pan, cut 12 rounds.