Cajun Eggs Benedict

What you’ll read here is a mixture of family favorite recipes and the influence of my office mate, who should have won Husband of the Year for 2012. Here’s why.

The wife of said office mate was really interested in photography, but as a busy mom of three, she just hadn’t given herself the time to work on her hobby. So for Christmas that year, my office mate decided to buy her her first DSLR. Considerate guy that he was, he decided that he would also gift her with a class on digital photography at the local community college. And on top of that, he asked me if I, as her friend, would be interested in taking that class with her, as he thought it would be more fun for her if she had a friend in the class.

If that doesn’t set the bar high, I don’t know what does.

I was excited about the class, since I had my own DSLR and had been practicing with it for a while, but had never really learned the theory behind it all. I just pushed buttons and turned dials until I got what I wanted. I learned a lot in that class. But I learned even more outside the class, practicing photography with Sarah and collaborating with the amazing Kasha of The FarmGirl Cooks.

Kasha is awesome. She’s a fourth generation farmer on her family’s gorgeous farm in the Hudson Valley’s black dirt region, and she was in the class to improve her already gorgeous photos on her food blog. She started it as a way of providing folks inspiration on how to use the fresh produce provided by her family’s CSA, and it just grew from there.

We decided one afternoon to meet up at her family’s farm for a recipe collaboration – several recipes, in fact, all variations on the fabulous brunch staple, Eggs Benedict. One of my very favorites is this Cajun Eggs Benedict I love to make, swapping out the English muffin for a Cajun shrimp cake. You can also add Cajun Spice to the Hollandaise, but that’s overkill {unless you really love it}.

I’m including the photos from our collaboration session here with my recipe. Because there’s something magic about the combination of arugula, shrimp cake, poached egg, and Hollandaise on the ornate plates Kasha paired up with a shiny black tray in perfect afternoon light. They’re my favorite food photos I’ve ever taken, and they contain memories of an extremely fun afternoon!

Cajun Eggs Benedict

Serves 4.

What You’ll Need:

For your own Cajun Spice:

  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cayenne powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder

For the Jambalaya Shrimp Cakes:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp Cajun spice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil for frying

For the Eggs Benedict:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • olive oil
  • 4 shrimp cakes {recipe above}
  • 4 poached eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce {recipe below}
  • Salt, paprika, and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 1 cup clarified butter {start with 1 1/4 cup before clarifying}
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • salt to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste

How to Make Them:

1. If you don’t have Cajun Spice, combine the ingredients above in a small bowl until well mixed. Store in a sealed jar.

2. To make the shrimp cakes, combine the shrimp, pepper, and onion in a food processor and chop together until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and with a wooden spoon, mix in the white rice, bread crumbs, and egg.

3. Form the mixture into 6 patties.

4. Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan until simmering lightly. Fry the patties a couple at a time for 3-4 minutes per side or until the patties are golden brown. Drain on parchment paper.

5. Bring a pan of water filled 2 inches deep to a simmer. Crack the eggs carefully one at a time onto a bowl or saucer, and let slide into the pan. Poach the eggs for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pan sit for 8-10 minutes. Lift the eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain on parchment paper.

6. Toss the arugula lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto four plates. Top each plate of arugula with one shrimp cake and one poached egg.

7. Whisk the egg yolks and cold water in a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl until the mixture becomes light and foamy. Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice.

8. Heat an inch of water in a saucepan over medium heat. When the water simmers, place the bowl on top of the saucepan to make a double boiler. Whisk the egg mixture lightly until thickened, 1-2 minutes.

9. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and gradually add the clarified butter, whisking constantly. Don’t add it too quickly or else your mixture, like a roux, will break. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the amount of butter you add.

10. Whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.

11. Drizzle the Hollandaise sauce over your Cajun Eggs Benedict and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

This particular egg could have been poached a little less, but it was still delicious. Yes, we absolutely ate all our creations that afternoon. Part of the fun of food blogging!

What are your favorite food memories?

2 thoughts on “Cajun Eggs Benedict

    1. There are so many great non-English muffin options for Eggs Benedict that I’m almost disappointed when all a restaurant has is the traditional. The Cajun shrimp cakes are good just on their own, but I love adding a poached egg and spicy Hollandaise to them! I also tried a Southern style Eggs Benedict with cornbread and pork hash that I would LOOOOOVE to recreate!

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