I was watching one of those cooking competition shows the other night and the challenge was Eggs Benedict. Each contestant dripped in sweat, with the clock ticking away, trying to make the perfect hollandaise and the perfect poached egg…both of which can be fairly difficult to do correctly. I felt their pain. Each require a great amount of finesse and timing, and most importantly, patience. I cannot imagine being on the line at a busy brunch establishment having to do it all day. But as I was watching it I realized it had been years since I had eaten Eggs Benedict.
It’s one of those dishes I have only eaten a handful of times, but find it very delicious. I also really like the different variations on the classic like Eggs Florentine (with spinach) and Eggs Neptune (with crab). When I was thinking about my family’s dinner last night, I decided to make a Eggs Benedict/Neptune-inspired dish, only I made the decision to leave out the hollandaise since it was tricky to attempt with only one arm available. This recipe is basically a crab cake on top of a potato cake, topped with a poached egg. It’s pretty awesome. You can serve it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy!
*Crab and Potato Cakes with Poached Egg
*Preheat your oven to 200 and line 2 cookie sheets with foil, grease well. (You will need this to keep your cakes warm.)
*To make your Potato Cakes (recipe makes 8):
-In a medium bowl, add 1 lb. potatoes, shredded, 1 medium onion, grated, 4 TB of flour and 2 eggs. Mix well with a fork and season well with salt and pepper. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat equal parts extra virgin olive oil and butter, (about 1 TB each), on medium-high. When the butter begins to foam, drop in your potato mixture using a medium sized ice cream scoop and flatten with a spatula. You will get about 8 cakes and will end up cooking them in two batches. Cook each cake for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, then flip. Once golden brown on the other side, transfer your cakes to one of the foil-lined cookie sheets and place in the warm oven.
*To make your Crab Cakes (recipe makes 7):
-In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. cooked crab meat (use whatever you can afford, canned or fresh. If you’re able to get fresh, then I recommend mostly backfin with a bit of lump mixed in) with about 1/2 cup of corn, the zest of 1 lemon, about 1/3 cup of mayo, about 2 TB of dijon mustard, 1 egg, a handful of fresh tarragon and basil, 1/3-1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs and some kosher salt. (As you know, I don’t really measure, so I recommend checking for a very moist consistency before cooking and tasting it first to adjust the seasoning to your liking).
-Add 1 TB more of olive oil and butter to the same skillet and using the same ice cream scoop, drop your crab cake mixture into the pan and flatten down with a spatula (again, this will be done in 2 batches). Allow the cakes to become golden brown on one side (1-2 minutes) before flipping and browning the other side. Transfer to the other foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven along with your potato cakes as you poach your eggs.
*To poach your eggs:
-Bring a large pot of water, with a splash of white vinegar, to a gentle simmer (you want it almost boiling, but no large bubbles). Once you see tiny bubbles form and the pot of water looks a bit like seltzer water, take a spoon or spatula and swirl the water rapidly to create a tornado effect. Crack one egg (make 1 egg per potato-crab cake stack you are serving) into a small bowl and as the water is swirling, slowly drop the egg into the center of the swirl. Watch as the whites of the egg wrap around the yolk and allow the egg to cook for about 2 minutes*. You can cook more than one at a time, but I recommend doing just one if you’re not very confident in your poaching skills. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove each egg and place on a plate lined with paper towels to allow the water to drain. Season with salt.
(*you will know the eggs are done when there is no clear goo to be seen and the yolk is very jiggly when touched.
-Remove your cakes from the oven and place a potato cake down on the plate first, then top with a crab cake, and carefully situate a poached egg on top of the crab cake. Garnish with some fresh basil and/or tarragon. If you’re serving this to any hungry adults for dinner (like my weight-lifting, starving husband), you may need to serve 2 stacks, but I was perfectly satisfied with one.