Poached Eggs with Artichokes and Crab

Serves

Recipes don't get much more decadent than this, a glamorous twist on Eggs Benedict featuring fresh artichoke bottoms and crabmeat instead of Canadian bacon and English muffins. The artichokes can be prepared a day or two ahead and reheated in the microwave at serving time.


Ingredients

1 lemon
2 large artichokes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup fresh crabmeat (picked over)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 slice (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter (cut into 8 pieces)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  salt (to taste)
  ground white pepper (to taste)
4 eggs (poached)
  paprika (for garnish)


Directions

Prepare the artichokes: Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one of the halves into a bowl of cold water. Set aside.

Cut the stem from one artichoke and discard or save for another use. Starting at the base, bend back the leaves one at a time until they snap, and then pull down sharply to remove the tough skin from the flesh. Work around the artichoke in a circular fashion, repeating this process with the bottom two or three layers of leaves. Once you reveal the pale green leaves under the outer petals, you can stop. Cut off the top half of the artichoke and discard so that what remains is the bottom (or heart) of the vegetable only. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the dark green skin from the base and sides of the artichoke, as this is fibrous and inedible. The artichoke bottom should be pale green, almost white, once you've removed the skin. Rub all cut surfaces with the remaining lemon half, then place the artichoke in the lemon-acidulated water. Repeat with the other artichoke.

Steam the artichoke bottoms until they're tender when pierced with a sharp knife or skewer, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the bottoms from the pan and let cool, upside down, for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the hairy choke with a small spoon or melon baller and discard. (For photos and more details, see our artichoke prep tips.) At this point, the artichoke bottoms can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.

Just before serving: Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan and add the crabmeat and tarragon. Cook slowly over low heat to warm the crab while you prepare the Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise sauce: Whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of water in the top of a double boiler. Cook, whisking constantly, over simmering water until the mixture thickens. Add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly until it's fully absorbed before adding the next piece. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, add the tarragon, then salt and pepper to taste. Keep the sauce warm while you finish assembling the dish.

If your artichoke bottoms are cold, reheat them in the microwave until hot. Place two bottoms on each plate and spoon 1/4 cup of crabmeat into each artichoke. Top each artichoke with a poached egg and nap with the Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle the top of each egg with sweet paprika, if you like, and serve immediately.

 

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