Dungeness crabs are delicious eaten freshly cracked with lemon and butter, so hollandaise sauce is a logical — and wonderful — leap for the brunch plate. This crunchy crab cake makes a great stand-in for the toasted English muffin you’d find in a classic Benedict.
Crab Cake Eggs Benedict with Sauteed Spinach
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) mayonnaise
3 green onions, white and green parts, minced
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g.) minced yellow onion
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) finely grated carrot
3 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. (375 g.) fresh-cooked lump crabmeat, preferably Dungeness
1 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) panko, or as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
12 oz. (375 g.) baby spinach, rinsed but not dried
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
8 large eggs
About 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)
To prepare the crab cakes, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, green onions, yellow onion, carrot, ginger, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Pick over the crabmeat for shell shards and cartilage. Add to the mayonnaise mixture and mix gently until combined. Stir in about 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) panko, just enough to make the mixture hold its shape when formed into a cake. (The exact amount depends on the moisture content of the crab.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and shape each portion into a thick cake. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup panko in a shallow dish. Coat the cakes evenly with the panko, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. A handful at a time, add the spinach, cooking until the batch wilts before adding another handful. Cook all of the spinach until just wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the spinach in a sieve, pressing gently to remove some, but not all, excess liquid. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. Return to the saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.
Line another rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the crab cakes and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip the cakes and cook until the other sides are golden brown, 2-3 minutes more. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to the paper towels to drain briefly.
In a wide saucepan, combine 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l.) water and the vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the water at a simmer. Fill a bowl halfway with hot tap water and place it near the stove.
Crack an egg into a small bowl. Slip the egg from the bowl into the simmering water. Using a large metal spoon, quickly spoon the egg white back toward the center of the egg to help the egg set in an oval shape. Simmer gently until the egg white is opaque and the egg is just firm enough to hold its shape, 3-4 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, lift the egg out of the simmering water. Trim off any floppy bits of white and carefully transfer the egg to the bowl of hot water. Repeat to poach the remaining eggs.
To serve, place 1 or 2 crab cakes on each plate. Using tongs, top each cake with a mound of spinach. One at a time, using a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs from the water, resting the bottom of the spoon briefly on a clean kitchen towel to blot excess moisture, and perch an egg on each cake. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of hollandaise over each egg. Serve at once, passing the remaining sauce on the side. Serves 4-8.
4 large egg yolks
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) unsalted butter
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. With the blender running, slowly add the warm melted butter through the vent in the lid, processing until the sauce is thick and smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin it.
Transfer the hollandaise sauce to a heatproof bowl. Cover and place over (not touching) a saucepan of hot, not simmering water to keep warm. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.