It’s the last region, ya’ll! As I near the end of the culinary madness, we hit up the last region through which my red dotted line travels- the Mid-Atlantic U.S., an area that encompasses Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and New Jersey.
First, Maryland, and a nod to the land from whence I came a little just a few weeks ago. During my time on the Chesapeake Bay, I made it my own personal goal to eat seafood, namely, crab, at every meal, if possible. I did pretty well, if I say so myself: crabcakes, buffalo oysters, calamari, crabcakes, shrimp and crabcakes.
My favorite among all of the above was the crab cake, (those buffalo oysters though…) and they were truly something different than I’d find here in the middle. Rather than the typical tightly packed, bready crabby patty, these crab cakes contained barely any filler or binding, leaving it looking more like an ice cream scoops of lump crab meat. Baked or broiled, not one bite disappointed.
So, in homage to the extraordinary crab cake benedict I ate on our last morning, I’m making one at home because…maybe a little withdrawal.
As much as the crab cakes are the star of this show, I say that the English muffins just may steal it. I’ve been wanting to make English muffins for some time now because I love them so much, and I figured it wouldn’t be a hard thing to learn how to make myself. The opportunity arose when my cookbook club picked Huckleberry as last month’s book- and now I had a recipe from a reliable source.
I made one adaptation to Zoe Nathan’s recipe by making my own bread flour substitute. Flashback to the beignets when 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tsp vital wheat gluten = 1 cup bread flour. I did the same thing this time and I can’t find any indication that it didn’t work. Fresh out of the oven, I wanted to eat all of the muffins. Sorry, Thomas, you lose.
As for the hollandaise, often times I find that whatever benedict I get doesn’t even need it, or need it in the quantities provided. I made a simple blender hollandaise with a few Buddha twists- smoked paprika for one, parsley for the other. Can’t say it enough-herbs and citrus make the man. Or the dish.
The crab cakes are adapted from Food and Wine. I swapped Greek yogurt for the mayo, but if you like mayo, do your thing.
Don’t be afraid of the hollandaise. It’s so easy. So easy. Really, don’t be scared.
I’ve never poached an egg before (I KNOW) or every really tried. Alton Brown can walk you through it the way he does. I didn’t think my egg would come out restaurant pretty, but it did. Again, don’t be scared.
Rather than buy saltines for binding (which is typical for Maryland crab cakes), I used panko because I had some. I mean, who still eats saltines? (I’m sorry if you eat saltines).
I made the muffin dough the day before and let it do a final rise in the morning before griddling/baking. Worked great. Nathan also frowns upon recombining and rerolling the dough, but I did it without issue. I think the fear is that the dough would be really overworked if you keep doing it, but I gave it one reroll and it seemed okay.
I only made one egg. It’s SO rich. I just couldn’t handle two. I’m a wuss. Yam has already expressed her disappointment.
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 TB active dry yeast
- 1 ½ TB unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1 ½ TB honey
- 3 cups/400 g all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp/10 g vital wheat gluten
- 2 TB/25g sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup/80 g cornmeal
- Warm ¾ cup of the buttermilk in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Place the remaining buttermilk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk by hand to combine. Add the warm buttermilk and whisk to blend. Add the butter, honey, flour, gluten, sugar and salt and mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for about 1 minute until the dough comes together, and then increase the speed to medium high until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of the cornmeal on a clean work surface and dump the dough onto it. Sprinkle with another 2 TB cornmeal and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick.
- Sprinkle the last of the cornmeal onto a sheet pan. With a 3-in biscuit cutter, cut the muffins from the dough, as closely as possible to minimize scraps.
- Arrange the muffins on the sheet pan and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour at room temperature. Or, refrigerate overnight and allow to rise 1 hour in the morning.
- As you’re getting ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. When the oven is hot, heat an ungreased cast iron skillet or griddle over medium high heat.
- Drop the muffins onto the griddle and cook about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown.
- Return the muffins to the sheet pan and immediately bake 8-10 minutes untl they feel light when lifted from the pan.
- Rather than the all purpose flour and vital wheat gluten, feel free to use just bread flour
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or mayo, if you choose)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 TB Dijon mustard
- 1/2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 tsp hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 8 ounces lump crab meat
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 1 slash hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 TB fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 English muffins, split with a fork and toasted
- 6 eggs, poached
- fresh spinach (optional)
- Whisk together the yogurt with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, paprika, Old Bay and lemon juice until smooth. Add the crab meat, parsley and panic. Fold to combine and let refrigerate at least an hour.
- Preheat the broiler, and line the pan with aluminum foil. Using a 1/4 cup measure (ice cream scoop works), scoop the crab meat onto the pan. Broil about 15 minutes until the cakes are heated through and brown on top.
- In the base of a blender, combine all the ingredients except the butter, Cover and blend for about 5 seconds.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, about 30 seconds, until melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It will thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm by placing the blender canister in a pan of hot tap water if not serving immediately.
- On each half muffin, place a bit of spinach on the base, top with one crab cake, one egg, and a drizzle of hollandaise.
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