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!
Polenta (skip this if you purchase pre-made)
New Orleans Bechamel Sauce
If you are making your polenta from scratch, start here. It's best to make the polenta the night before so it has time to chill well so you can cut it into cakes.
If you purchased your polenta, or made it in advance, start here: