By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
Good riddance 2020.
Of course, we know that changing the year on our checks won’t exactly mean that we are out of the woods, but for me, knowing that it’s 2021 at least gives me hope that we are closer to the end of this fun little journey.
With the new year, I truly hope that we can find some new adventures; perhaps take a vacation, even if it means a short drive and sitting on the beach (personally, I am way too ADD to just sit on a beach, but I hear that it’s a nice thing to do). Or a trip to the mountains where there are limited people around to keep us as safe as possible.
Either way, I hope that 2021 is a year of restoration and repair. Lord knows that we all need it. For me, though, I’m just glad that I was able to make some decisions in the past six months that will greatly favor my family and kids. Strangely, this involved opening a new restaurant in a pandemic. I know, right?
It seems like a contradiction. Yet, it has been a fun ride, and everyone is excited about being a part of Berlin, this great, funky little town that we all know and love.
As New Year’s fell on a weekend, I imagine that many of you went out for brunch (or brunch carryout) and grabbed a bloody Mary and some good, fatty food to work on that hangover. Of course, I won’t assume that you drank anything, as I did not imbibe Saturday night myself, but I’m pretty sure that you catch my drift.
If you do happen to have a festive evening, however, a nice greasy burger can fix a lot of problems. And so can a beautiful poached, runny egg-on-fried-green-tomatoes dish cloaked in Hollandaise. Add fried green tomatoes and crab? You’ll be right as rain by noon.
Boxcar Eggs Chesapeake
8 ea. Fried green tomatoes (recipe follows)
3 c. baby spinach leaves
8 oz. Lump or jumbo lump crabmeat
8 ea. Eggs
2 c. Blender Hollandaise (recipe follows)
8 slices lemon
- Set a pan of water on the stove deep enough to hold at least 5 inches and wide enough to be able to cook multiple eggs at once.
- Add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and stir.
- Bring to a simmer and get back to other ingredients.
- Bring a fryer (recommended) to 350F and fry the green tomatoes until they are golden brown.
- Remove to a paper towel and keep warm.
- Sautee the spinach in a little bit of butter and season with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm until ready to assemble.
- In the same pan (why make more pans dirtier than you need to?), quickly warm up the crab meat. Be careful not to break any lumps up
- Poach the eggs in the simmering water until the whites are firm and the yolks still runny.
- For each plate, place two fried green tomatoes on the middle of the plate.
- Top with the spinach, crab, egg and hollandaise
- Garnish with the lemon and serve with breakfast potatoes or fresh fruit. That’s the dealer’s choice.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Enough for 8 fried FGTs
2 green tomatoes
1 c. AP flour
Salt & Pepper, as needed
1/2 c. Milk
4 c. Panko bread crumbs, finely ground
2 Tbsp. Dry parsley
- Set up a breading station with 3 low-rim bowls or pans.
- In the first one, add the flour and season it.
- In the second one, mix eggs and milk, and season.
- In the third pan, add the finely ground panko, parsley and seasoning.
- Slice the tomatoes into 4 slices each.
- For each slice, place it in the flour and with one hand coat it entirely and shake off the excess.
- Move to the egg wash and with the other hand, coat it.
- Remove and place in the breadcrumbs. Go back to the “dry” hand and press the breadcrumbs into the tomato.
- You may need to repeat steps 7 and 8 to make sure that the breading sticks on the skin. That can be tricky sometimes.
- When breaded, you can refrigerate or freeze the tomatoes until ready to put in the fryer.
makes about 1 quart
3 whole pasteurized eggs
Dash hot sauce (my favorite is Hank Sauce)
Pinch white pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ # butter, clarified
- Using a high-quality blender like a Vitamix helps with this, but any blender will do.
- Add all ingredients except for the butter and blend well at a medium speed
- Bring the clarified butter to 130F.
- With the blender going at a medium-high speed, start drizzling in the butter slowly.
- Add the butter until the sauce stops spinning. When this happens, the sauce is done.
- Remove to a warm bowl and keep warm until service. This sauce will hold much better than a traditional Hollandaise, and in fact will even survive a hot box in a plate-up situation. So, if you have your oven set to proof or have a warming drawer, it will last in there. Just keep it covered so that it doesn’t get a skin.
—Paul Suplee is a Professor of Culinary Arts
at Wor-Wic Community College
and owner of boxcar40.
Visit him at www.boxcar40.com.