Guest Post: Paul Link’s Johnnycake Bennies

29Sep09

This week’s Guest Post comes from my friend Paul Link, who runs a blog called Cook in a Black Hat. Paul is currently employed at Bistro Sauce in Vermont.

I love cornbread. I grew up in the South and I’ve eaten it all my life. One food that I didn’t eat growing up was Eggs Benedict. It simply wasn’t a food that was part of my life or upbringing. I learned to love Bennies when I came to culinary school up here in Vermont, and its now one of the great pleasures in my life. It was these things that I was thinking about when I developed the following recipe. This version is entirely vegetarian and features local heirloom tomatoes, but this recipe would also be delicious with country ham or Canadian bacon.

For this johnny cake, I used a greased metal ring in my non-stick pan rather than the more traditional pan cake method so that the cake would cook round and tall and make a better base for the bennies. If you don’t have commercial metal rings, you can make rings from tuna fish cans by cleanly removing both the top and bottom.

I also like to use a shallow pan of simmering water with a fair glug of vinegar in it for poaching my eggs. Having this going early in the process also gives me a place to cook the egg yolks and reduction.

Johnny Bennies
1 Johny Cake – split
2 Slices tomato
sauteed spinach
2 poached eggs
1/4 Cup apple cider hollandaise

Pan fried Johnny Cakes

1/2 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbls Baking powder
1 egg – beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbls vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
2 Tbls minced onion

1. Combine all dried ingredients in a mixing bowl
2. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl
3. Pour wet onto dry ingredients and mix until the batter just comes together
4. Fold in corn and onion
5. Cook in a nonstick pan like a pan cake or use a greased ring to make a taller cake

Apple Cider Hollandaise
2 Egg yolks
2 Tbls Apple Cider
2 Tbls Apple Cider vinegar
1/4 Cup Clarified butter – melted
Salt – to taste

1. Combine cider and vinegar in a small saucepan and reduce by 1/2
2. Add this reduction to the egg yolks in a stainless mixing bowl
3. Cook over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly, until well thickened, remove from heat
4. Slow add butter while whisking until sauce is thickened and rich. If it thickens too much, add a small amount of lemon juice or water to thin.
5. Season and hold warm.

Stack the tomato and spinach on top of the johnny cake place a poached egg on each and top with the hollandaise.

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