I’ve been accused of many things as an adult, accusations that have carried over from my childhood and almost always involve the volume of my voice, and later, the volume of my opinions. Or possibly the depth of my feelings about said opinions. Or possibly the force of said opinions, especially as measured by the forceful tossing of food at another’s head to illustrate a salient point. One accusation that I fear will haunt me on these hallowed pages, however, is the redundancy of my favorite meals. I’ve confessed before that, were I to rank them, breakfast would follow far behind afternoon tea, elevensies, and private lunch (yes, this is the lunch one eats by herself after leaving everyone’s company, most often consumed in closets or the bathrooms of any taco stands at which she happens to stop). Forgive these redundancies, dear reader, for when I find a breakfast that is worth waking up for, I tend to fixate.
Consider the poached egg, the bright and buttery sauce, the delicious carbohydrate vehicle, and consider that this is where the redundancy ends. After those essentials, the world is your oyster (hey—Oyster Rockefeller Eggs Benedict. That’s good. Write that down.). I’ve discovered a myriad of different flavor combinations and playful pairings once the main dish has been set. Be creative, get crazy, let your hair down (but not while you’re cooking unless you’re making a bird’s nest benedict. Mostly yuck). Here I offer you a recipe simultaneously inventive and redundant, the ever-pleasing Crab Cake Eggs Benedict. Every brunch from 1985-1999* probably featured a traditional Benedict, a Florentine, and the crab cake benny of my heart. The first time I discovered my passion for Hollandaise was when a chef slathered it on a crab cake lo those many years ago. So I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but I’m also not not re-inventing the wheel here, if you know what I mean (do you? Because I don’t). You should seriously make this for your friends and neighbors because once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of poaching and emulsifying, the rest is cake (crab cake, to be exact).
For the neurotic and ambitious among us (we call you simply friend), use Kyle’s English muffin recipe. I wouldn’t try to conquer both tasks on the same cooking day, but rather, stretch them out over a lazy weekend. For those less ambitious (you’re friends too, guys), store-bought English muffins will do just fine. I’ve zhushed our usual hollandaise sauce recipe by adding some dill and extra lemon juice. As always though, both can be seasoned to taste based on how much you like either ingredient. The crab cake recipe can be saved as well for dinner, served with a bright aioli of your choice, or a midnight snack, if you start cooking at 11:30. They’re also disc shaped, so perfect for expressing an opinion at your brunch companion’s head. But why waste a classic?
*I know this because of science.
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- juice of ½ a lemon
- dash of cayenne
- Thoroughly mix all ingredients save crab meat and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Once thoroughly incorporated, add crab and breadcrumbs and toss gently, leaving large chunks of crab. Form into 8 small patties.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has foamed, add crab cakes in batches (depending on skillet size) and cook until browned on each side, approximately 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- water for poaching
- Fill a large stock pot ⅔ full with water. Add vinegar and bring to a rolling boil.
- Stir the water in one direction using a slotted spoon and then add one cracked egg while the water is still circulating. Cook the egg for 2-3 minutes if poaching soft. If you prefer a firmer poach, leave in for an additional 2 minutes. You can cook 2-3 eggs at a time if using a big enough pot; otherwise, cook one at a time while doing other prep.
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced dill
- Salt to taste
- Bring a small saucepan of water to simmer.
- In a separate glass bowl, one that fits over the saucepan without touching the water, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice together until slightly thickened. Do not yet place this bowl over the water. Set aside until ready to use.
- Separately melt the butter in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave. Once melted, skim the white foam that has risen to the top off and discard. Set aside.
- Place the glass bowl with the beaten eggs over the lightly simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water, nor should the water be at a full boil.
- Whisk the eggs for approximately one minute, or until the eggs have slightly warmed. Slowly begin adding the butter, starting with no more than ½ a tablespoon. You do not want the eggs to scramble, so during this process, you can lift the bowl off the heat and add the butter, whisking it in.
- Slowly add the butter now, about a tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously to emulsifyt. Once fully added, whisk over the heat until the sauce thickens. If the mixture gets too thick, you can add a tablespoon or two of hot water to thin it out.
- Remove from the heat and add the cayenne, dill, and additional lemon juice to taste. Add salt to taste, and serve immediately.
To assemble: Split your muffin in half and toast. Place crab cake and poached egg on each half. Top generously with hollandaise & garnish with chopped green onion, chives, or dill.