In the rush of everyday life, we often don’t have time for such luxuries as breakfast. I know we should take the time, but so often we don’t. Maybe a donut, if we are lucky. It is only on the weekends – usually Sundays – that life slows down enough for breakfast. Some of us attend church services, followed by a nice breakfast. Others sleep in, then eat a leisurely morning meal.
Oh, but on vacation and it is a whole other breakfast experience. There is no need to rush about while on vacation, everything slows down. Suddenly we find the time to savor our mornings, and a big part of that is breakfast. Sometimes our morning meal is nothing more than toast, juice and a fresh piece of fruit. (If you are every in Depot Bay in Oregon, there is a little street side cafe called Toasted. They serves toast – the most awesome selection of locally made breads and and jams on the planet), Other mornings, it is a hardy meal of flapjacks, potatoes, an assortment of meats and eggs (scrambled or in the form of an omelette are generally our favorites while traveling). While Hubby and Kiddo tend to stick with the basics of what they know, whenever possible I like to be adventurous. After all, vacations are all about adventure, trying new things, broadening one’s horizons. When sticking to the more basic, it’s usually Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. (There’s a place in Truckee California – the name escapes me – near the train station that serves up some of the best Sausage Gravy with light, fluffy home-style biscuits). When in San Francisco, I love to eat anything that includes Crab. With that in mind, I wanted to share one of my favorite “San Francisco” style breakfasts.
Unlike the traditional Eggs Benedict that has a toasted English Muffin as a base, with a poached egg and Canadian Bacon, a Crab Cake Benedict has no muffin or bacon. You still get that rich, wonderful flavor of a poached egg, only this time the egg sits atop a crisp crab cake. And no matter how you serve it, Benedict anything must include a luscious helping of silky Hollandaise Sauce
Crab Cakes Benedict
1 lb. cooked fresh crabmeat, flaked
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup white bread crumbs or panko
4 green onions, white portion only, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the crab cakes, in a bowl, using a fork, stir together the crabmeat, egg, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, green onions, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Form the mixture into 6 patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the crab cakes and fry, turning once, until crisp and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the crab cakes to the prepared baking sheet to drain.
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt (about a pinch)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or so to taste)
2 pinches of freshly ground white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
To make the Hollandaise sauce, in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and water and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken, then continue whisking about 1 minute more.
Remove the bowl from over the pan as soon as the mixture thickens. Add the salt, cayenne pepper and white pepper.
Using a stick blender with the aerator attachment, blend the mixture while slowly pouring in the melted butter in a thin stream until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Add chopped parsley to give the sauce a splash of color. Cover and keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Eggs – Poached
6 Fresh Eggs, Poached
Pinch of sea salt
6 green onions, chopped optional for garnish
How to poach an egg according to Alton Brown: Heat the water: Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow, deep 2-quart saucer. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, crack 1 very fresh cold large egg into a custard cup or small ramekin. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to quickly stir the water in one direction until it’s all smoothly spinning around.
TIP: Use this whirlpool method when poaching a single serving (one or two eggs). For bigger batches, heat the water, salt and vinegar in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and do not stir.
Add the egg: Carefully drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The swirling water will help prevent the white from “feathering,” or spreading out in the pan.
Let it poach: Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don’t peek, poke, stir or accost the egg in any way.
Lift it out: Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Alternatively, move the egg to an ice bath and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Reheat in warm water just before serving.
Confession time – I cannot poach an egg. It’s an art form I’ve never mastered. If you can poach an egg, my hat is off to you. Try as I might, I end up with a swirling mess beyond recognition. So I cheat, if you will, using a poaching pan. Mine will poach four eggs perfectly. It’s one of those can’t live without kitchen gadgets that I picked up at the Biggest Little Kitchen Store in Jackson.
To serve, place 1 crab cake on each of 6 individual plates and top with 1 poached egg. Pour about 1/4 cup Hollandaise sauce over each egg and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve immediately.
Believe it or not, pan seared Asparagus goes very well as a garnish or side. Sourdough toast points is also a nice touch.
Another awesome, fancy breakfast involving eggs and asparagus would be my Egg Asparagus Milanese with French Popovers. Be sure to check it out.