I spied with my little eye a delicious photo posted by Kate of Accidental Hedonist. It looked tasty, so I posted a link to it on my Facebook page.
Throughout the rest of the day a bunch of people wanted to know the recipe. But I didn't know precisely what was going on with the photo, so I commented on the originating post. Questions kept piling on my side of things, so I decided to go right to the source. Since I reviewed her whiskey book and interviewed her last year, I shot her an e-mail asking for more information on this delectable dish. She kindly provided as many details as she could. It was a brunch item served at Fresh Bistro in West Seattle, described thusly:
Sweet Potato-Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict $15
Shredded sweet potato cakes, Dungeness crab leg, chipotle hollandaise, fresh baby arugula salad, sautéed veggies
Kate gave me a few more hints on the structure and I decided to give it a shot. I ran a sweet potato and shallot through the mandoline, bound it all with an egg and a little flour, and made a few sweet potato hash brown cakes. For the sauce, I made a straight hollandaise and added a little adobo sauce from a can of chipotles, just enough to season but not make it hot. Instead of Dungeness, I used some decent canned blue crab meat (hey, I'm a long way from the Pacific), and decided that as long as I'd whipped up a batch of hollandaise I might as well steam some asparagus instead of making a salad.
It's certainly an amazing flavor combination, but very rich. I think I'd prefer it with an English muffin base instead of the sweet potato, or perhaps as a much smaller course using little sweet potato cakes and a quail's egg. It's also a lot of work for one person in a home kitchen. I had a pot going with steaming water for the asparagus, and I was whisking my sauce over the heat coming off the top. I had a skillet going with the sweet potato cakes and jostled around to make some room for another skillet to poach some eggs. Almost forgot to add the crab as I was assembling everything. It takes some experienced juggling to have everything at the right temperature and texture mere moments before serving.
I had the perfect wine to go with this meal, and it curiously enough came from yet another blogger. Constance sent me a bottle of the 2008 Santorini Assyrtiko from the volcanic archipelago of Santorini in the Aegean Sea. 100% Ασύρτικο/Assyrtiko. $15, 13% abv.
I've mentioned this before, but Greek wine labels are getting better and better. Design-wise this could easily be mistaken for an Italian wine on the shelf. I'm not saying that the Greeks need to hide anything, but the older labels tended to be wholly unreadable to someone unfamiliar with the language/alphabet, with perhaps some poorly translated explanation on the back label. You can actually witness this evolution with labels just in the past 15 years. Different companies here, but look at a pure Greek label probably designed in the 60s and used for 40 years, to a hybrid label that still doesn't do much for the English audience, to a more modern layout that very obviously says, "This is a normal wine, nothing to be afraid of." If you can't figure out if the contents of the bottle are wine, a liqueur, a spirit, olive oil, or floor polish, you're going to be less likely to buy it, or even open it if someone brought it back as a gift from vacation.
The wine itself reminds me of Semillon. There's an earthy, honey-like tone to it, with a tart, crisp green apple finish. Hint of juniper on the nose. Absolutely gorgeous golden color. Totally dry, very short finish. It practically disappears after the sip. Should go great with any seafood dish, and the simpler the better. Think little fish grilled and spritzed with lemon juice, or a big bowl of freshly steamed mussels. Even oysters, though maybe not something oily and strongly flavored like mackerel or bluefish.
Big thanks to Kate and Constance for providing all the inspiration for this delicious meal, and to my Facebook readers for pushing me to try it out. Kind of makes me want to send a few categories to different bloggers and try a Mad Libs-style post in the future. "For dinner, Benito had a chicken liver omelet with a side of Doritos salad, pepperoni ice cream, and a glass of Purplesaurus Rex Kool-Aid." Or perhaps not.
Note: This wine was received as a sample from Santo Wines.