A Southern Christmas breakfast: Biltmore Estate’s fried green tomato eggs benedict with crab hollandaise

My family doesn’t have a Christmas morning breakfast tradition. My husband’s parents do cinnamon buns; my neighbors do pancakes in tree-shaped cookie cutters, but I’ve got nothing. So this year, thanks to John E. Batchelor’s Chefs of the Mountains: Restaurants & Recipes from Western North Carolina, I’m making Biltmore Estate’s fried green tomato eggs benedict with crab hollandaise. (Hey, if you can’t be at the Biltmore for Christmas, this is the next best thing!)

Want to give it a try? Here you go!

Photo courtesy Biltmore Estate

Photo courtesy Biltmore Estate

Serves 4 as a brunch main course

Tomatoes:

  • 4 large green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Hollandaise:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ pound lump crabmeat, picked

Eggs:

  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs

sliced green onions for garnish

Tomatoes:

Slice tomatoes ¼ inch thick. Reserve ends for another use. In a large bowl, beat eggs well with a wire whisk and add buttermilk. Add tomatoes to egg mixture, toss well, and reserve. In a separate bowl, combine next 6 ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle some of the dry mixture over a sheet pan. Remove tomatoes from wet mixture, allow excess to drip off, and coat well with dry mixture. Set on prepared sheet pan until all tomatoes are coated. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil to 360 degrees, using a frying thermometer as needed. Layer a second sheet pan with paper towels. Working in batches, fry tomatoes about 2 minutes per batch until golden brown. Place cooked tomatoes on sheet pan with paper towels.

Hollandaise:

In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk yolks and lemon juice vigorously until very pale and doubled in volume. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and continue whisking. Be careful not to let water touch bottom of bowl or to let eggs get too hot. Once eggs are warm, add melted butter in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add salt, cayenne, zest, and crabmeat. Cover and reserve in warm area of kitchen. Sauce can be thinned with a small amount of cold water if it becomes too thick.

Eggs:

Fill a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan halfway with water. Bring to a low boil, then add vinegar and salt. Using a slotted spoon, gently swirl poaching water into a slow whirlpool. Carefully add eggs 1 at a time and cook for 3 to 3½ minutes.

To present:

Set out 4 large dinner plates. Arrange 3 to 4 tomato slices on each plate. Drain poached eggs in a slotted spoon and set out 2 per plate. Cover generously with hollandaise and green onions. Serve immediately.

Find this and more recipes in Chefs of the Mountains.

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