"My mother really loves a good benny, and really, so does everyone," explained Chef Jamie Lynch, executive chef and partner at 5Church Group and contestant on the most recent season on Top Chef."So, I wanted to do a cool take on it." For this new take on a brunch staple, Chef Lynch kept the poached eggs, swapped out the hollandaise sauce for a jalapeño beurre blanc, and replaced the English muffins with crab cakes. According to Chef Lynch, this dish is a staple at 5Church Charlotte, where he is based. "It’s one of our most popular brunch items, and it was one of the original brunch items at the Charlotte location," he explained in an email. That's probably why beloved dish is also available for brunch at the restaurant group's two other locations, in Atlanta and Charleston.
But if you have no plans to visit the southeast anytime soon, don't fret. You can make Chef Lynch's crab cakes at home with this surprisingly simply recipe. To keep the crab cakes moist, he recommends taking your time. "When adding breadcrumbs to the wet mix, add a little at a time because the breadcrumbs will continue to absorb the liquid," the New England Culinary Institute-trained chef recommends. "You want it to seem a little wetter than you think it should be, and then it will thicken up to desire."
Really, the trickiest part might be poaching six eggs. (Chef Lynch recommends having eight eggs on hand, just in case you mess up one or two.) But eating this spicy, creamy brunch dish? That'll be a breeze.
Crab Cakes and Poached Eggs with Jalapeño Beurre Blanc
For the Crab Cakes
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, cleaned of any shell fragments
1 shallot, finely minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, whites only, whipped to soft peak
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the poached eggs
8 eggs, poached (You'll have 2 extra, just in case)
1 cup white wine
¼ cup champagne vinegar
For the Jalapeño Beurre Blanc
1 jalapeno, diced with the seeds removed
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ pound butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
How to Make It
Make the crab cakes. In a large mixing bowl combine the mayo, juices, herbs, seasoning, and bread crumbs. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so. The breadcrumbs absorb the excess moisture. Fold in the egg whites. Finally add the crab and zest. Fold gently together as not to break up the crab too much. Portion into 1.5 oz cakes. Lightly sauté the crab cakes on both sides and golden brown.
Make the beurre blanc. Combine the white wine, vinegar, and jalapeño in a sauce pot and reduce by 2/3. Add the heavy cream. When it returns to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter 2 cubes at a time. Season with salt, pepper and the lemon juice.
Serve. Top each crab cake with a poached egg over the beurre blanc.