Crabcakes Benedict is my hubby’s favorite breakfast and here in Northern California we have access to fresh crab year-round. If you are already doing a crab dinner, just buy a bit extra and save some meat for the next day. You could also do it with canned lump crab, as I did this time since we were traveling to a vacation spot and it transported easier than whole crab. (The kitchen in our vacay home wasn’t any bigger than the galley!)
This is a lovely, rich meal that is perfect for brunch on it’s own or paired with fresh fruit and/or potatoes. And mimosas … always mimosas!
Variations: You could use breadcrumbs instead of Panko, but I find that the flaky textue of Panko absorbs less oil and is crunchier and crisper. Not everyone is a fan of Hollandaise, so you could either skip it altogether, serve it on the side, or make/buy a simple aioli instead. The herbs and spices are kept to a minimum so the crab really shines through, but in the future I’ll experiment with some fresh dill as I think that particular flavor would complement the other ingredients nicely.
Another idea is to make the crabcakes for an appetizer, lunch or dinner, instead of breakfast. Skip the croissants, poached eggs and Hollandaise and serve on a bed of greens tossed lightly with olive oil and lemon juice with a side of aioli or cocktail sauce. I’d also be a bit more aggressive with the hot sauce if serving this way.
It is fairly intensive meal to make all at once and requires a good bit of attention. I’d highly recommend making the crabcakes a day or at least hours in advance, tidy up and then prep for cooking the sauce and eggs before heating the cakes.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery (about 1 stalk)
- 1/4 cup finely diced white onion
- 8 roasted garlic cloves or 1 raw garlic clove, diced finely
- Hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
You will make a cream roux with the above and set aside.
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon course black pepper
- 8 oz crab meat
- 1/3 cup Panko Italian seasoned Japanese style breadcrumbs
You will add the above mixture to the cream roux.
- 2 cups Panko Italian seasoned Japanese style breakcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 extra large eggs
- 2, 3 or 4 croissants (depending on the size and how many guests you want to serve)
- 1 cup arugula
- 4 chives, snipped into 1/4 inch pieces for garnish
- Melt butter in medium sized pan over medium-low heat.
- Add celery, onion and garlic and cook until translucent but not browned (about 4 minutes).
- Add a few drops of hot sauce (I used 4 and there wasn’t any noticeable heat) if you like.
- Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook until mixed through (about 1 minute).
- Slowly stir in the whipping cream and mix in parsley.
Transfer mixture to a small bowl and allow to cool at room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, egg yolk, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Stir in 1/3 cup Panko and gently mix in crab.
- Fold in roux mixture.
- Spread 2 cups Panko onto a plate.
- Divide mixture into 4 or 6 equally sized piles (see serving suggestions below).
- Form a one inch thick patty out of each pile and gently press into the Panko, cover the sides and gently flip over with a thin, metal spatula to coat the other side.
- Place on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one day.
Before you fry the crabcakes, make the Hollandaise sauce and let it thicken over very low heat for up to an hour. I did not include a recipe for the Hollandaise sauce, as I totally cheated and made mine from a packet. (The horror!) I’ve found the Knorr brand to be exceptional and it takes about 6 minutes to make. I actually do two packets as hubby loves a small bowl on the side for dipping. My big tip in making Hollandaise sauce is to stir continually so as not to burn the bottom.
- When ready to cook the crabcakes, heat the oven to 200 degrees and heat the olive oil in a large pan. Take the cakes straight from the fridge to the pan. (This helps them to keep shape; if you bring them to room temperature before frying, you risk them falling apart.)
- Cook the cakes over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on one side and gently check a corner to make sure they have browned. Then flip and cook on the other side until also browned. The second side will brown quicker as the chill will be off the cakes.
- Transfer to a tinfoil lined cookie sheet and place in oven.
This is when you will make your poached eggs. I’m not going to attempt to teach anyone this skill as I try a different method each time to a varying degree of success. I’m always prepared to cook one or two (or even three!) more than needed due to a broken or overcooked yolk. (Good think the dog likes hard cooked eggs!) I’ve used silicone poaching cups in a pot of boiling water, small glass bowls surrounded by a water bath in the oven, and pouring the eggs directly into a pot of boiling, swirling water. The last effort worked the best for me with the result being cooked whites and silky, runny yolks. I transfer the poached eggs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to remove excess water. Do what works for you!
- Cut the croissants in half. You can toast the halves if you like.
- I used big, bakery croissants with two crabcakes each. With the rich sauce and potatoes and melon on the side, it really was too much food! I suggest using smaller croissants with one cake per croissant and sides and serve 4, or make 6 smaller patties and put 2 cakes each on a large croissant and serve 3.
- Place croissant bottom on plate and top with arugula.
- Place cake(s) on top of arugula.
- Gently place poached eggs on top of crabcakes.
- Drizzle Hollandaise sauce over eggs and sprinkle chives on top.
- Place croissant top at a angle over the sauce and serve.
Serves 2 really, really hungry people … or 3 or 4 people with sides (I suggest fresh fruit and potatoes).