I’d like to pretend this recipe is the savory alternative to beignets for Mardi Gras breakfast, borrowing flavors from classic New Orleans dishes like jambalaya and creating a regional version of this American breakfast dish.
The original Eggs Benedict dish is claimed to have been invented by two different people in the 20th century – a wall street broker, and a man who claims to have received the original version of the recipe from his uncle, a friend of Commodore E.C. Benedict. Regardless of who actually invented the dish, it’s amazing to see how it has spread so much in popularity and inspired so many different variations over the years. This recipe was actually inspired by a dish I tried at a local brunch place, Eggspectations in Chantilly. We heard so much about them that one day we decided to check out the restaurant, and I chose to try this dish.
It was good, but the Floridian in me was appalled at the lack of shrimp. There were two bitty little shrimp in the dish and maybe three pieces of langostino. I don’t typically count these things out, but I was sharing with Princess A, and after I pulled out her portion, I realized there wasn’t any left. I understand restaurant profit margins and all, but these were small shrimp (not much larger than salad shrimp) and langostino chunks, and with the rest of the dish being comprised of rather inexpensive ingredients, I felt it should have been a bit more balanced. The dish overall was good though, and it provided inspiration to make this at home, so worthwhile research. And now that I have the recipe here for you, you can just make it at home, easy!
You may use fresh or frozen seafood depending on what you find at the best price and personal preference. If you do use frozen shrimp, get uncooked shrimp so you don’t overcook it in the pan because overcooked shrimp becomes very tough. I was able to find a bag of frozen langostino bits at Trader Joe’s, since fresh wasn’t available at the time in my area, and it was more than enough to make this recipe twice and a pasta dish I wanted to try. Fresh when it’s available is awesome though… but like produce, seafood is also sometimes seasonal, and winter is not usually the season here. 😉
The recipe has quite a few steps because I chose to make the polenta, but you can find it pre-made at most grocery stores if you’d like to skip those steps. Making your own sauce and seafood/chicken/andoille mixture is a must though. The flavors are just so perfect and I loved how my kitchen smelled like I’d been simmering a jambalaya. Add those flavors to the pan fried polenta cakes and top it with a perfectly poached runny-yolk egg, and it’s bead-worthy brunch perfection.
If you aren’t sure how to poach an egg, I’ve filmed this little video tutorial for you:
I hope you enjoy my version of Cajun Eggs Benedict!
- 1 c yellow cornmeal
- 4 c broth
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp butter, vegetable, or olive oil for pan frying the polenta
- 2 cups (6 oz) shrimp, fresh or frozen
- 1½ c frozen langostino
- ¾ lb chicken, cubed
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- ½ lb andouille sausage, sliced
- ½ medium sweet onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp dry thyme
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp honey
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp portions
- Bring 3 cups of broth to a boil over medium high heat in a saucepan. Grease an 8"x8" pan with butter or nonstick spray and set aside.
- Combine the cornmeal and spices with the remaining cup of broth in a bowl. Whisk into the boiling broth.
- Stir the mixture frequently for 5 minutes over medium heat until it gets thick. Then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes or so.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared pan, allow to cool, and then cover and refrigerate until firm.
- Heat 1 tbsp of your butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place four slices of polenta in the pan and cook 4-5 minutes each side until slightly golden with lightly crisped edges. Hold in a warm oven until ready to serve.
- In the same skillet, cook your sausage and chicken until the sausage is browned and the chicken has cooked through. Add a tsp of oil if your sausage is on the lean side.
- Add the onion, garlic, and diced pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes until translucent and soft.
- Add the diced tomato and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Finally, add the shrimp and langostino and cook until just done and then remove from the heat.
- Make your hollandaise sauce by whisking together the egg yolks, milk, and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes.
- Start adding the butter, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking constantly. After 4 tablespoons, add 1 tbsp of your lemon juice. Then add another 4 tbsp of butter, another tablespoon of lemon juice, etc, until you've added all the butter.
- Add the rest of the spices, cook for 2 more minutes, whisking constantly, and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to another container and keep warm while you poach the eggs.
- Poach your eggs by bringing water to a gentle boil in a small sauce pot. Add 2 tbsp vinegar. Crack your egg into a small bowl and use a spoon to create a whirlpool in your boiling water pot. Gently pour the egg in the bowl into the center of the whirlpool. Cook 3-4 minutes until desired done-ness then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- To plate, place two of the polenta cakes on a plate, add your protein mixture, one or two poached eggs, and the Hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.