Freezing Time

I adore brunch. I love to be able to sit at a sunny table and hold a mug of vacuum-brewed coffee in my hands, letting the warm spread through them while I take in the sight and aroma of a beautifully-assembled dish featuring my favorite breakfast items. I like being able to slowly enjoy said dish between sips of coffee and light morning conversation with my family. I like the luxury of time that brunch affords and the amazing meals that time allows me to enjoy:

But making brunch isn't always so easy. This, however, is an exception. This Crab Cake Benedict is gloriously rich and downright decadent. However, because of the individual elements making up this dish, you can make some of the items in advance and hold others in perfection for quite a while. So instead of trying to do a Sunday morning impression of an octopus, you can toss together the crab cake mixture while you let your coffee brew (or even make it a day in advance). You can also toast the muffins, make the hollandaise sauce, and even poach the eggs well before it's time to assemble your plates. While you don't want the muffins to stale, you can toast them up to an hour before you plan to serve them without issue. Hollandaise sauce can be gently reheated just before it's time to spoon it over your eggs. And one of my favorite egg tricks involves poaching eggs to just under ideal consistency and moving them to a bowl of cold water. Then, when it's time to serve them, pop them into a bowl of uncomfortably warm to the touch water and let them reach your desired temperature before sliding them out with a slotted spoon and bringing them to rest on a serving plate. Ta-da! You're welcome.

But what really shines in this dish are the crab cakes. And guess what? If you think time will just not be on your side come Sunday morning, make them up to 48 hours in advance and store them in a sealed container between layers of waxed paper. Then, when your Sunday morning arrives, reheat them over medium heat in a nonstick skillet coated with a little canola oil or even bacon fat. Voila! You've got Crab Cake Benedict without having to be an octopus or a time lord. So relax, pour that mug of coffee, and enjoy the sunshine. It's going to be a beautiful brunch!

Crab Cake Benedict

For the crab cakes:
  • ¼ c. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ T. Old Bay seasoning or other seafood seasoning
  • Couple drops Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • 1¼ c. panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • Canola oil, for frying
For assembling:
  • 4 English muffins, lightly toasted
  • 8 poached eggs
  • 2 c. prepared hollandaise sauce - choose your favorite recipe
  • Smoked paprika, for garnish

In a medium to large bowl, combine well the mayonnaise, mustard, egg, lemon juice, Old Bay, hot sauce, and green onions. Fold in the crab, then gently fold in ¾ cup of the panko crumbs (reserving the other ½ cup). Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes. While the crab cake mixture chills, you can toast your English muffins, make the hollandaise sauce of your choice, and poach your eggs. Pro-tip: place perfectly poached eggs into cold water to hold them indefinitely. To serve spoon them into warm water and when they reach your desired serving temperature, carry on!

One the crab cake mixture has chilled, shape the mixture into 8 'cakes' about 1-inch thick. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and preheat to medium-high (just below the smoke point). Lightly dredge each crab cake in the remaining ½ cup of panko crumbs. Fry the crab cakes until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.

To assemble the meal, place 2 halves of an English muffin on a serving plate. Place a crab cake on each muffin half and a poached egg on each crab cake. Generously spoon hollandaise over the top of the eggs and sprinkle a little smoked paprika over the sauce. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 40 minutes/li>

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