Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cajun Eggs Benedict with Crawfish Aioli


So truthfully, this cajun eggs benedict dish is a little involved. But that shouldn't deter you from attempting to make them for someone special...or yourself! It's so worth it. I had actually made the cajun sauce for another recipe and had leftovers. I also had leftover crawfish from the night before from a crawfish boil (I wish backyard crawfish boils were more of a thing in Southern California), which I added to the sauce and turned into an aioli. The sauce makes about 4 cups, it's A LOT, more than enough for this dish (unless you'll be catering Sunday Brunch and plan on making eggs benedict for like 20 people...). I say, make the sauce, use it in a casserole or something, or freeze it in ziplock bags; 1 cup measured out into ziplock bags, air removed, and laid flat.

Okay, on to the recipe. I suck at poaching eggs, I've tried every method out there, but all I would get would be ugly wispy whites that just stuck to the bottom of my pan. Anyway, I came across a video on Serious Eats that details the use of a mesh strainer. It worked! Catch that link and the recipe below.


Cajun Eggs Benedict with Crawfish Aioli

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, roasted and mashed
  • 2 tsp Cajun Seasoning (I used this one)
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 lb andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb crawfish, boiled and peeled, save shells
  • 2 poached eggs (directions for full proof poached eggs here)
  • crawfish aoli (recipe below)

For the sauce
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
  • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

For the aioli
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • 1 tbsp melted butter/ghee
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • peeled cawfish



What to do: 
  1. Prepare the cauliflower for the sauce by removing the green stems and roughly chopping into manageable chunks. Process in a food processor until the size of a grain of rice, one head of cauliflower should yield about 4 cups. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat with one tablespoon of oil. Saute 1/2 the amount of minced garlic until fragrant. Add the riced cauliflower to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and chives. Add 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiled, turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pour into a high powdered blender/food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. 
  2. In a separate pan, saute the minced shallot and remaining garlic until fragrant. Add 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning to the shallot/garlic mixture, stir to coat. Add the roasted red pepper to a blender, along with the sauteed shallot/garlic mixture, tomato paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Puree until smooth. 
  3. Combine the cauliflower puree and roasted red pepper puree into a sauce pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add juice of 1/2 lemon. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Sauce can be made in advance, makes about 4 cups. Allow to cool completely before freezing. 
  4. Note: This step is completely optional, but it'll definitely impart more "crawfish" flavor into the sauce.  Add the peeled crawfish shells, ~ 1 cup of the cauliflower/roasted red pepper sauce, and about 1/4 cup water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and add juice of 1/2 lemon. Allow to simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes on low heat. Strain through a mesh strainer to collect the sauce and remove any shell pieces. This sauce will be used to make the aioli. Set aside. 
  5. Make the sweet potato waffles, by mixing, 1 cup of mashed sweet potato with the Cajun seasoning, dried onion and salt/pepper. Scoop 1/2 cup into waffle iron and make waffles per manufacturer instructions. Repeat with remaining 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potato. 
  6. Poach eggs, set aside in a bath of cool water until ready to plate. Meanwhile, saute spinach and sausage until sausage has browned and spinach has wilted. Set aside. 
  7. To make aoli, whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup cajun sauce (with or without the infused crawfish), juice of 1/2 lemon. Slowly add in melted butter/ghee while whisking constantly. Once combined fold in crawfish meat. 
  8. To assemble, top each waffle with spinach/sausage mixture, poached eggs (rewarm by removing from cool bath and into soft simmering water for 15-20 seconds), and crawfish aoli. 




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