Crab Benedict! WINNING

Posted on 03.07.2011


When people ask me what I miss most about Baltimore, I always say ‘my friends’ first, and that is followed by ‘the food’. It’s funny that I went from not touching seafood to being addicted to it in just 8 years. Steamed shrimp, crab cakes, oysters on the half shell, fried oyster po’boy sandwiches and rosemary fries… these are foods that no man should die before tasting. These, more than anything you could ever say, really capture the life in Baltimore. It’s always an interesting day when I describe the typical Baltimore ‘crab feast’ to my English students. I’m going to have to have one eventually, but that won’t come for a long time.

I picked up two cans of lump crab meat from the supermarket last week, in order to make crab lettuce wraps with avocado and bacon. That took up half of a can, and I used the other half in my MD onigiri experiment (the ‘philly roll’ onigiri is so far the winner). So I had this other can to use, and this morning I decided that I would try to recreate my favorite Baltimore/east coast breakfast: the Crab Benedict.

In MD, it’s called just the crab Benedict. Once you get to Virginia (where I had this amazing contribution to the world of gastronomy for the first time, in Old Town Alexandria), it’s called the MD Benedict. And this is specifically because of the Blue Crab meat that comes from Baltimore and local mostly to that area in the Chesapeake Bay. You can find it in NY and Philly as well, and it will either be called one of these things.

It’s just a typical Eggs Benedict, but with a layer of lump blue crab meat between the egg and the muffin. And usually there is Old Bay involved, for authenticity and taste. This is a major help when you’re using canned NON Blue Crab meat, as I was today.

I had to change the original recipe slightly, and there will be more changes to follow. I substituted the English Muffin that is typical for my Gluten Free Bread. Eventually I might try it over GF corn bread, but I need to have that made before I jump into it. Second, I didn’t make the Hollandaise sauce myself, as the last time I tried was a disaster. This time, I got it from a powder bag that only required boiling water. Eventually I’ll make a DF Hollandaise Sauce, but today was more of a first run to see if I could poach an egg without using a proper poacher.

The answer to that question is ‘yes’. I used a small pot (and next time I’ll use my taller skillet), and although the first one was a bit runny because my water temp was too low, the other three were perfect.

HERE is the link to the poaching instructions I used. I didn’t think my tall skillet could handle the required 1″ of water, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary, and I’ll try it next time.

I didn’t use a recipe for the Benedict, as it’s pretty straightforward and I’ve eaten them enough to know what goes into them: poached eggs on an english muffin, with crab meat in between and some hollandaise sauce on top. Next time I’ll add some more spices to the crab meat, and I’ll also use a sunflower butter on the bread before tossing the crab meat on top.

I’m also a fan of the smoked salmon Benedict, which I’ve had at Miss Shirley’s in Baltimore a number of times. But overall, this is my favorite breakfast and I’ll eat anywhere that serves this. IMO, the best places to get that dish that I have been to are the Chart House in Old Town Alexandria (they also have an AMAZING breakfast on the weekends, DO go there on the morning after to impress your ‘date’, or with your girlfriends, like I did), the Mt Vernon Stable in Baltimore, and Miss Shirley’s, who serves the smoked salmon Benedict, and also the crab one (I’m pretty sure).

I think one of my favorite things about Baltimore is that it’s really hard to get BAD seafood there. You can go just about anywhere and get great steamed shrimp. Some places use more filler in the crab cakes than others, but you learn pretty quickly who’s serving the cakes that are worth the money.

I’m really excited that this worked out as well as it did on the first try, it makes me feel a little less homesick. It’s wonderful to not have to go somewhere and wait for an hour just to get a good breakfast. This only took about 30 minutes.

Next time, I’ll be trying to make home fries. Because I really miss home fries. Especially when they’re drenched in egg yolk.

Posted in: food, GF/DF