How many people reflexively follow the words “Mother’s Day” with “Brunch?” Of all the Mother’s Day traditions, one of the most enduring is a leisurely meal full of indulgent splurges for Mom.
Few items on the brunch menu capture the essence of indulgence better than eggs Benedict. Nestling a poached egg and Canadian bacon on an English muffin, then blanketing the stack in a rich hollandaise sauce sounds like a multinational excursion, but the dish is as American as apple pie, only more decadent.
Local restaurants often put their own spin on eggs Benedict to showcase coastal ingredients such as crab and oysters, or to add a Tex-Mex flavor. Others have found that sticking to the original blueprint wins accolades. “We make eggs Benedict the old-fashioned way, and some of our guests have told us it’s the best they’ve ever had,” Jerry Stripling, general manager of the Flying Dutchman in Kemah, said. “We shave the Canadian bacon, so you get some in every bite, and make our hollandaise sauce fresh each day.”
The Flying Dutchman added Saturday and Sunday brunch to its offerings several months ago. “It’s been very well received, both by visitors and locals,” Stripling said, noting that eggs Benedict was one of the most popular brunch items.
Saltwater Grill in Galveston is upping the decadence factor even further for a special lobster-studded eggs Benedict that will be part of the Mother’s Day menu. Tempura-fried lobster subs for Canadian bacon, served on toasted brioche and topped with a Hollandaise sauce dusted with smoked paprika, the creation of Saltwater chef Megan Walker.
“I grew up in Boston, and we did pretty much everything with lobster,” Walker said. “I wanted to do a play on the classic eggs Benedict, just like we’re switching up the usual chicken and waffles to jumbo fried shrimp and waffles. We’re normally not open for brunch, so Mother’s Day is a chance to do something special.”
Seafood also stars in the eggs Benedict variations at Dickinson restaurant Marais. In one version at Marais, crab cakes take the place of the English muffins, and in another, the traditional ingredients are paired with fried oysters. “Oysters are a Southern tradition, and you can’t get more traditional than eggs Benedict,” Marais executive chef Frank Pannitti explained. “We top them with a Cajun hollandaise — it’s a little spicier, but still a classic.”
Elsewhere in the area, chefs pay tribute to Tex-Mex influences by swapping hollandaise for chili con queso. Farley Girls, a popular Galveston brunch spot, delves even further into the Mexican flavor profile with a chorizo version.
Making eggs Benedict at home takes some patience, or perhaps a willingness to cut a few corners on the homemade hollandaise sauce, which typically requires slow stirring over a double boiler. A blender version skips the cooking; pasteurized eggs should be used since the eggs are not really cooked.
Eggs Benedict in a casserole captures the flavor, if not the presentation, in a way that can serve a larger group easily. As local chefs demonstrate, there are many new ways to present an old favorite.