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Ingredients (16)

For the hollandaise:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 pound butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

For the crabs:

  • 4 2-pound live Dungeness crabs
  • 8 gallons water, seasoned with gray sea salt until the water tastes like the ocean

For the Benedicts:

  • 4 English muffins
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 steamed artichoke hearts, cut into wedges, lightly warmed if necessary
  • warm crab meat
  • hollandaise sauce
  • 1 bunch chives, thinly sliced

Widely regarded as one of San Francisco’s best seafood restaurants, Waterbar shared this Dungeness crab Benedict recipe with us, so while you may miss out on their stunning views of the Bay Bridge and city skyline, you’ll still have a lovely, luxurious breakfast or brunch at home.

Follow our Basic Steamed Artichokes recipe up to three or four days ahead of time, if you want to make brunch happen faster on the day of—and if you need a visual walk-through on getting to the heart of the vegetable matter, see our illustrated “How to Eat an Artichoke” guide here. Likewise, if you need a visual refresher on poaching eggs, see our “How To Poach an Egg” video, or consider trying this hack in which you poach eggs in the oven using a muffin tin. And if you find the classic method of making hollandaise intimidating, try our Easy Blender Hollandaise recipe instead. Finally, while the recipe gives instructions for cooking your own live crabs, if you’re not up for that, buy pre-cooked crustaceans instead; if you buy crab meat that’s already been picked, be sure to give it another once-over to make sure there are no hidden bits of shell remaining. If you do go the home-cooked route, you can find a visual guide to cleaning Dungeness crabs here.

For more perfect poached egg ideas, get our Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Miso Butter recipe, and our Brown Rice Bowl with Poached Egg, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Feta recipe.


To cook the crabs:
  1. 1
    Bring a pot of heavily seasoned water to a boil and place crabs into pot. Set a timer for 13 minutes.
  2. 2
    While crabs are cooking, prepare an ice bath large enough to hold them.
  3. 3
    When the 13 minutes are up, lift the crabs from the pot with tongs and place into the ice bath. Allow to cool for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. 4
    Once crabs are cool, remove from the ice bath, clean the crabs, and pick the meat, going over well to ensure there are no shells.

To make the hollandaise:

  1. 1
    Bring four gallons of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl that will rest on top of pot without falling in, combine egg yolks and lemon juice.
  2. 2
    Whisk yolks until they lighten in color and increase in volume. Place the bowl over the boiling water, lower the heat to medium-low, and being whisking yolk mixture again. Gradually add the butter, one or two cubes at a time, and continue whisking until all butter has been added and emulsified into the sauce.
  3. 3
    Continue to cook the hollandaise until it is thick and holds it shape; when you dip a spoon into the sauce and run a finger down the back of the spoon, a solid line should form and remain, and the hollandaise should hold to the spoon.
  4. 4
    Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the cayenne, and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Keep warm.

To assemble the Benedicts:

  1. 1
    Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds, then add spinach in batches and lightly sauté.
  2. 2
    Split the English muffins in half and toast, then divide among 4 plates. Top evenly with sautéed spinach and gently warmed artichokes. Evenly divide the gently warmed crab meat on top of the artichokes, then place one poached egg on each half of English muffin. Spoon warm hollandaise evenly over top and garnish with chives, then serve immediately.
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