Quick & Easy Asparagus Benny

Sunday morning brunch is one of my favourite meals of the week. I typically have more time to prepare it than I do for a weeknight dinner, which makes for a more relaxed cooking experience. I also love to cook with a coffee in hand, music in the background, and morning sunshine streaming in through the windows. And this weekend, eggs benedict is on the menu! Except… not really. I’m making a sneaky, super quick & easy version. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Hollandaise sauce, but it’s not something I make on the regular. It’s pretty labour intensive, and very rich. In my quick & easy version, I swapped out the Hollandaise for a simple white sauce + Swiss Cheese. And I’m giving you options for the eggs — you can poach ‘em if you feel up to it, but a simple sunny-side-up will work just fine!

Most importantly, though, this eggs benedict features the spring veggie we’ve all been waiting for: asparagus! It pairs deliciously well with eggs, and the cheese sauce ties it all together perfectly. Choose whole wheat English muffins for an extra dose of fibre, and you’ve got yourself a tasty and balanced brunch. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cropped Asparagus Benny 3.jpg

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 whole wheat English muffins

12 eggs

2 bunches Thames River Melons Asparagus, washed & trimmed

2 tablespoons butter (plus more for buttering)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 ½ cups Swiss cheese, shredded

6 slices deli ham, sliced in half (optional)

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Fresh parsley, minced, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash & trim the asparagus, then set aside.

  2. Begin to make your swiss cheese sauce: melt the butter over medium heat and cook until sizzling. Sprinkle the flour over top and mix together to form a thick paste. I like to use a rubber spatula for this step, to ensure I get into all the corners of the pot.

  3. Cook the butter-flour mixture for 1 – 2 minutes, until fully thickened. At this point I typically switch to a whisk. Next slowly add some of the milk, whisking constantly to combine. Add a little milk at a time, whisking until combined. Once all of the milk has been added, continue to whisk constantly.

  4. Continue to cook for 5 – 6 minutes. Watch the pan closely and monitor the heat. You want the sauce to heat at a slow and steady pace – too fast, and it will boil, which could cause the mixture to separate! You want a silky smooth sauce for this delicious breakfast.

  5. While the sauce cooks, prepare the asparagus. You can steam, sauté, or roast – any method will work! Cook until the asparagus is tender, but still holds its shape. Regardless of cooking method, this typically takes between 4 and 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalk.

  6. The sauce should begin to thicken by now. Once it has, sprinkle in the shredded cheese, salt, and pepper, and whisk to combine. Once the cheese has melted, the sauce should be thickened and ready to eat! Reduce the heat to low and whisk occasionally as you continue to prepare the remaining ingredients.

  7. Toast the English muffins and cook the eggs. Again, how you cook the eggs is up to you! A traditional eggs benedict calls for poached eggs, but for this quick and easy recipe I would recommend a simple sunny side up. Alternatively, check out this handy guide to oven-poached eggs.

  8. Now, you are officially ready to assemble!

  9. Lightly butter each side of the English muffins, then top them with the ham (if using) and several stalks of the prepared asparagus. Next, add an egg to each half, and finish it off with a generous drizzle of the Swiss cheese sauce.

  10. Sprinkle with a pinch of fresh parsley, and you’re ready to eat! Enjoy.