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 Sunday – that life slows down enough for breakfast. Oh, but on vacation and it is breakfast every morning. Sometimes that’s nothing more than toast, juice and a fresh piece of fruit. 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 Hubby and Kiddo tend to stick with the basics, whenever possible I like to be adventurous. Vacations are all about adventure, trying new things, broadening our horizons. When sticking to the more basic, it’s usually Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. (There’s a place in Truckee – 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. This year’s vacation was all about simple foods in small towns. Still, I wanted to share one of my favorite “San Francisco” style breakfasts.
Crab Cakes Benedict
1 lb. cooked fresh crabmeat, flaked
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 cup white bread crumbs or panko
4 green onions, white portion only, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. 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 Tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice
1 Tbs. water
1/8 tsp. salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 pinches of freshly ground white pepper
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
6 poached eggs
2 Tbs. 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. Cover and keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Eggs – Poached
6 Fresh Eggs, Poached
Pinch of sea salt
6 Sprigs Chive, 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 parsley. 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.