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by Wolfgang Puck
Crab Cakes Benedict
This Crab Cakes Benedict recipe is both reassuringly familiar and refreshingly new.
With all those needs in mind, I've come up with this ideal Crab Cakes Benedict recipe for any time you want a meal that's easy, comforting, impressive, and delicious.
You probably know classic eggs Benedict well. On top of a toasted English muffin half goes pan-seared Canadian bacon, then a poached egg. And the stack is bathed in the warm butter-and-egg emulsion called Hollandaise sauce.
Sounds delicious, doesn't it? But it can also be very rich and heavy.
So, I thought, why not lighten up the classic? Replacing the cured pork with crabmeat seemed like a good solution, and I've come up with a version of crab cakes designed to highlight that tender, sweet seafood with diced bell peppers and onion, fresh herbs, and a crunchy coating of breadcrumbs and ground almonds. As in any good crab cakes, there's just enough bread to help hold them together. The crabmeat is the star. You can find it freshly cooked, shelled, and ready to use in any fish shop or the seafood department of good supermarkets. Whole cooked baby bay shrimp would make an excellent substitute.
If you like, you can follow the classic Benedict recipe and poach the eggs that top each portion, as I do in the recipe here. But feel free to vary that plan, too. Fry the eggs sunny side up if you find poaching too fussy for you. Or you could just make a big pan full of soft scrambled eggs cooked in butter, in which case it would make a more attractive presentation to put them on the muffin halves first, topped with the crab cakes.
Finally, there's the question of the Hollandaise sauce. You'll notice I don't include it in this recipe. The crab cakes are so moist, themselves including a little egg and some reduced cream, that this Crab Cakes Benedict recipe doesn't really need a sauce, especially once you break into the poached egg yolk. Of course, if you love Hollandaise, feel free to add your favorite recipe for it, or even a good packaged product, making sure to add a splash of lemon or orange juice to complement the crab cakes.
Crab Cakes Benedict Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 12
Crab Cakes Benedict Recipe Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mixed diced red, yellow, and green organic bell peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper, or dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 extra-large cage-free egg, lightly beaten
1 cup ground almonds
1-1/4 pounds fresh lump crabmeat, any pieces of shell or cartilage removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
6 English muffins, split
12 fresh extra-large cage-free eggs
3 ounces white wine vinegar
Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Crab Cakes Benedict Recipe Instructions
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and saute, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, add the cream and jalapeno to the skillet and simmer briskly, stirring frequently, until the cream has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add to the vegetables and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
Stir the chives, dill, parsley, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper into the mixture. Stir in the egg and half each of the breadcrumbs and almonds. Gently fold in the crabmeat; the mixture should be lumpy.
On a plate, stir together the remaining breadcrumbs and almonds.
With clean hands, divide the mixture into 12 equal cakes, each about the diameter of an English muffin. As you form each cake, gently press both sides into the breadcrumb-almond mixture to coat well; then, transfer to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Before cooking, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Put 2 tablespoons each of butter and vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted completely, add half of the crab cakes. Saute until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side, turning them carefully with a spatula. Transfer to a baking dish and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining crab cakes.
When the crab cakes are almost done cooking, toast the English muffins. Spread very lightly with a little of the butter and place 1 or 2 muffin halves cut side up on each serving plate.
While the crab cakes are cooking, poach the eggs. In a large, deep saute pan, bring 2-1/2 inches of water to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer, with only small, infrequent bubbles. Add the vinegar and a little salt to the water. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, making sure the yolk remains unbroken. Gently slip the egg into the water, using a spoon to make sure the egg is completely immersed. Repeat with as many eggs as will fit without crowding. Poach 3 minutes for runny yolks, 5 minutes for firmer. When the eggs are done, use a slotted spoon to lift them gently from the water, transferring to paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to drain.
Place a crab cake on top of each muffin half. Carefully place a poached egg on top of each crab cake. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.
Wolfgang Puck's Crab Cakes Benedict Recipe
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