This reimagination of the classic brunch dish is perfect for when you want something special. Traditional hollandaise can be a bit finicky and has been known to split if you are not careful during the emulsification process. Here we forgo the fuss altogether and opt for a luscious,  silky-smooth sauce reminiscent of hollandaise that comes together in a snap and requires no cooking.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


Crab cakes

  • 1½ lbs fresh crab meat
  • 2 to 4 Thai red chilies, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning

Avocado “hollandaise”

  • 1 ripe medium-sized avocado, pit and peel discarded
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground white pepper (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup warm water

For serving

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 3 cups packed fresh baby spinach or kale
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning
  • 4 poached eggs
  • Chili crisp condiment, store bought or homemade (optional)


Pick over crabmeat to ensure it does not contain any shells or cartilage. Place crabmeat in a large bowl.

Finely chop Thai red chilies. Use at least two but more if you enjoy more spice. (If you would like to tame their tongue-tingling properties further, deseed chilies before finely chopping.) Add chilies to bowl with crabmeat along with garlic, green onion, ginger, basil and lemon zest. Mix all together thoroughly with your hands, breaking up crabmeat. Add eggs and panko and mix again until mixture is well combined. Divide mixture into four equal portions and form each portion into a patty at least 1 inch tall. Place crab cakes on a small parchment-lined baking tray or plate and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make avocado “hollandaise”  sauce. In jug of a blender, add avocado,  lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and ¼ cup warm water. Blend, scraping down sides of blender jug with a rubber spatula as needed, until smooth and creamy. Add additional water as desired to create a pourable consistency. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.

Add enough oil to a high-sided pan, cast iron pan or Dutch oven so that it’s about a half-inch deep. Warm over medium-high heat until it reaches 320°F.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and cornmeal. Remove crab cakes from freezer and dredge in flour mixture. Fry crab cakes,  in batches if needed, until cooked through (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, sprinkle lightly with salt and let drain.

Just before serving, heat grapeseed oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add greens and a pinch of salt. Sauté until bright green and just wilted (about 1 to 2 minutes).

To assemble benedict, place one crab cake on each serving plate. Top with warm greens,  a poached egg and a spoonful of avocado  “hollandaise.” Garnish with a drizzle of chili crisp condiment or serve on the side, if desired. Serve immediately.

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict with Avocado “Hollandaise”

This recipe was originally published in the May/June 2024 print issue of Western Living magazine.