~ Exquisite Crabmeat Stuffed Omelette a la Benedict w/shallots, truffle cheese, asparagus and bearnaise! ~
"A la Benedict" means "in the style of" eggs Benedict. For runny-egg lovers, this is the la-tee-da, ooh-la-la, creme-de-la-creme of fancy-schmancy, artery-clogging AM indulgences: two golden-toasted English muffin halves, each topped with a slice of smoky ham, a perfectly poached egg and a generous drizzle of buttery hollandaise sauce. This all-American breakfast and brunch specialty has been gracing the tables of high-end restaurants for over a century. There are three claims to the dish's origin (click on the Related Article link below ~ Mel's Over-the-Top but Very Easy Eggs Benedict ~ to read them all), with one being widely-accepted as the real-deal:
In 1942, a wealthy, elderly gentlemen, Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street Stock Broker did an interview which appeared in the "Talk of the Town" column of The New Yorker Magazine. In it, Benedict confesses to having drunkenly stumbled into NYC's Waldorf Astoria in need of a good fix for a bad hangover. As the story goes, "back in 1894", he ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, bacon and a "hooker" of hollandaise (slang for a "shot glass). Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d'Hotel of the Waldorf found the combination to be so delicious, he added it to his menu the same year, substituting ham for the bacon and an English muffin for the toast. In his 1896 cookbook, the Cookbook of the Waldorf, chef Tschirky writes of a twist on this dish, which he named "Philadelphia eggs", in which poached chicken is served in place of ham -- yummy!
As eggs Benedict gained in popularity, chef's began taking creative license with inventive, palate-pleasing spin-offs, as well they should, because the dish is so user-friendly and adaptable. My favorite is eggs Oscar: crabmeat with a layer of blanched asparagus. If I sprinkle the same dish with Old Bay, the name changes to eggs Chesapeake. Eggs Hemmingway means served with smoked salmon in place of ham, and, eggs Florentine means please add a layer of steamed spinach. If I order Eggs Blackstone, I'll get bacon and fresh tomato. Several sauces can be substituted for the hollandaise too: bearnaise (hollandaise containing shallot and tarragon), mornay (a cheese sauce), and, blanchard (bechamel)!
Prefer an omelette to a poached egg? Omelette a la Benedict!
While I like eggs cooked all sorts of ways, poached eggs are my favorite, but, I sometimes find myself in the minority. My husband is an omelette man. Because I make one for him 2-3 times a week, I long ago started keeping a two small bags of diced onion and grated cheese in the refrigerator to minimize the AM prep. Depending upon what I've got on hand (bacon, ham or sausage and/or bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach), he's pretty much happy with whatever meat and/or veggie combo I create.
1/3 pound truffle cheese, grated
1+ dozen blanched asparagus spears
1 cup pasteurized crabmeat
1/2 cup bearnaise sauce*
* Note: Click on the Related Article Link below to get my recipe for ~ The Big Easy: Making Blender Hollandaise Sauce ~. The directions for making bearnaise are located there too!
"The Mel Way" to Prepare a French Omelette:
If you've ever eaten an omelette in Europe, more specifically, in France, you know it's different than our American omelette. It is buttery, delicate and creamy. On the outside, it is a pretty-yellow color, showing little or light signs of browning, and, on the inside, it is tender and slightly-creamy (perfectly undercooked but perfectly safe to eat). Just click on the Related Article link below, ~ My E-Z Creamy-Dreamy Folded French Omelette ~ to get all of my photos and a more detailed explanation!
1 jumbo egg (or 2 large eggs), at room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy or whipping cream
2 grinds freshly-ground sea salt
4 grinds freshly-ground peppercorn blend
2 teaspoons salted butter
Increase heat to medium (no higher), wait about 10-15 seconds, briefly rewhisk the egg mixture and pour it into the pan. Sprinkle in:
2-3 tablespoons diced shallot or onion, one is as good as the other
~ Step 3. Working quickly, using a thin spatula, begin pushing egg solids to center of pan, as they form, in combination w/lifting, tilting and swirling the pan, then returning it to the heat for about 4-5 second intervals. Do this 5-6 times, for 25-30 seconds. The object of this is to get the omelette to start to set up using just enough heat to keep the bottom from over-browning.
When the surface is almost set, slightly-creamy and shiny, sprinkle:
Over the top of the mounded strip of truffle cheese, arrange 1/2 cup pasteurized crabmeat, followed by 6 blanched asparagus spears, allowing their tips to hang out a bit over the sides. Ready, set, go:
~ Step 4. Turn heat off. Using a wide spatula and your fingertips, lift and fold 1/3 of the unfilled side over the asparagus spears. To fold the omelette into thirds: Pick the pan up with your dominant hand. Tilt the pan downward at an angle over the center of a plate, allowing the unfolded side of the omelette to gently slide from the pan to plate, then, using the pan, give the omelette a quick "third of a roll", by inverting the pan at the end. Allow omelette to rest about 1 minute.
Slice in half, place each half on a toasted English muffin half, drizzle w/half of the bearnaise, and, indulge in elegance w/your "better half"!!!
Exquisite Crabmeat Stuffed Omelette a la Benedict w/shallots, truffle cheese, asparagus and bearnaise!: Recipe yields ingredients list to make two omelettes. Each omelette, sliced in half, yields 1-2 servings.
Special Equipment List: hand-held cheese grater; cutting board; chef's knife; 1-cup measuring container; fork; 8" omelette pan, preferably nonstick, thin spatula; wide spatula
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)