Eggs Benedict is one of those brunch staples that’s always ordered at a restaurant and yet seems to intimidate a lot of cooks at home. I promise you, this recipe using toasted English muffins, Dungeness crab cakes, poached eggs and a simple hollandaise sauce is easier than you think, and makes for an extra-special breakfast on the hook.
The following four tips will help you cook this dish to perfection.
First: I love all kinds of crab in a crab cake, but if you can get your hands on Dungeness crab, it’s a real treat. If you’re using the frozen stuff, be sure to pat the defrosted crabmeat dry with a paper towel to remove extra moisture.
Second: To make the hollandaise, heat up the butter (it needs to be hot) and slowly stream it into the blended egg yolk mixture to create a velvety-smooth sauce.
Third: Use the freshest eggs possible. Freshness is the most important factor in perfect poached eggs. Fresh eggs have firmer whites and hold their spherical shape better.
And last but not least: Don’t skip the vinegar. It helps keep the whites formed tightly around the yoke as the eggs poach.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
4 English muffins, split and toasted
Lemon wedges for serving
FOR THE CRAB CAKES
4 cups fresh Dungeness crabmeat (about 4 crabs, cooked and cleaned)
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, plus ½ to ¾ cup for forming
⅛ cup sesame seeds
Olive or peanut oil for frying
FOR THE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
1 egg yolk or 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
MAKE THE CRAB CAKES
> In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except reserved Panko breadcrumbs, sesame seeds and oil. Stir gently to combine. Divide evenly to form eight cakes. Dredge each cake in reserved breadcrumbs and sesame seeds to coat. Set aside.
> In a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, sauté half the cakes in 1½ tablespoons of oil. Cook until golden, about three minutes. Carefully flip the cakes over and cook on the other side, about two minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Sauté remaining cakes in the same manner.
MAKE THE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
> In a blender (or with a whisk by hand), combine egg, mustard and lemon juice at high speed until blended. Then continue blending while adding melted butter a few drops at a time. Increase flow to a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.
MAKE THE POACHED EGGS
> Fill a large skillet with enough water to reach a depth of 1½ inches. Bring to a boil. Add the vinegar and heat until bubbles form on the pan bottom, with an occasional bubble popping to the top. Break each egg into the water; do not overcrowd. Cook until set to your liking (poke the white part gently to check firmness). For soft yolks and firm whites, allow three minutes.
> Place two English muffin halves on each of four plates. Divide crab cakes among the muffins and top each with a poached egg and some sauce. Season with pepper.
For five months a year, LaDonna Gundersen lives aboard a 32-foot fishing boat in Alaska with her commercial-fisherman husband, Ole, preparing meals in the boat’s 4-by-5-foot galley. Find more great galley recipes from her six Alaskan-themed cookbooks at ladonnarose.com