Savor a taste of the bay with Bryan Voltaggio’s Crab Waffles Benedict
Maryland native Bryan Voltaggio often looks to the rich bounty of the Chesapeake Bay for menu inspiration. For this recipe, the renowned chef and restaurateur finds it by the bushel in the springtime harvest of blue crabs, which add a rich, decadent twist to classic Eggs Benedict. Swapping the standard English muffin with fluffy Belgian waffles completes the transformation from diner classic to brunch centerpiece.
Classic Eggs Benedict is served on a toasted English muffin. I looked at all of those nooks and crannies and thought, why not use a waffle instead? It’s bigger and lighter, with the perfect built-in holes to catch runny egg yolks and creamy sauce. It made perfect sense to me. I’d been thinking about a Maryland Eggs Benedict, so I added crabmeat to the dish.
We typically make a special brunch for my wife, Jennifer, that involves all the kids cooking with me. They prefer plain Belgian-style waffles and we (the adults and Maryland natives) try to be sure when crab season opens in April that we celebrate all we can with this amazing ingredient. We are fortunate to live in the Chesapeake region where you find the best blue crabs. This recipe is simple, and you can avoid having to make the spice blend by using Old Bay or J.O. Seasoning. I’ve included our version, which we call Our Bay, in case you want to try something different. -B.V.
Download recipe: Priceless® Cookbook Bryan Voltaggio Crab Waffles Benedict
CRAB WAFFLES BENEDICT
ALLERGENS - Shellfish
- Waffle iron
- Spice grinder
- Mixing bowl
- Pots - Small and Medium
INGREDIENTS FOR SIX – EIGHT SERVINGS
OUR BAY SEASONING BLEND
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon piment d’Espelette
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ¾ tablespoon paprika
- 2½ teaspoons celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 package instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons / 8 grams vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1½ cups pilsner or ale of your choice
- ¼ cup malt vinegar
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs tarragon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Our Bay Seasoning Blend
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Tabasco sauce, for seasoning
- 1 lbs. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage
- 6 to 8 poached eggs, for serving
- Warm maple syrup, for serving
OUR BAY SEASONING BLEND
- Place all ingredients except salt in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
- Transfer to a bowl and whisk in salt. Mixture should be between orange and brown in color.
- Finished mixture can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one year.
- Put water, yeast, and salt in a measuring cup and stir to combine.
- Put flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and yeast mixture and whisk until just combined. Whisk in melted butter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, until it doubles in size.
- Put beer, vinegar, shallot, and tarragon in a medium saucepot set over high heat. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture into a measuring cup.
- Put the butter in a small pot set over medium heat and melt, stirring occasionally. Once butter has melted, remove from heat and keep in a warm spot on the stove.
- Put egg yolks into a blender and start on medium speed. Blend until yolks turn pale yellow and the outside of the blender feels warm. Drizzle in the beer reduction and puree until it is fully absorbed. Drizzle in the melted butter and puree until fully absorbed. Add the Our Bay Seasoning and salt, then add lemon juice and Tabasco sauce to taste. Turn off the blender and transfer the sauce to a bowl.
- Beer-naise sauce should be luscious and fluffy. Keep warm until ready to use.
- Fold half of the crabmeat into the waffle batter.
- Cook in waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Top each waffle with a spoonful of the remaining lump crabmeat, a poached egg, and Beer-naise, and serve with warm maple syrup alongside.
- I typically cut the waffles in half and then place an egg on one cut piece, spoon over the beer-naise, and then place fine cut parsley and dust a bit more Our Bay on the egg.
- Spoon maple syrup around and serve immediately.
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