At the Table

Big Easy Benedicts

By: The Local Palate

Two Takes on a Classic

Brunch is a meal that prides itself on excess, from bottomless mimosas to bloody mary bars that often comprise meals in themselves. But on any given Sunday, arguably no city is better prepared for the hours-long affair of eating, drinking, and socializing as New Orleans. “It’s a city of celebration all the time,” says Slade Rushing, the former executive chef of Brennan’s in the French Quarter. Helming the kitchen at a restaurant that built its reputation on eggs, he knows how to craft a breakfast plate. He shares a luxurious combo of poached eggs and shrimp atop sweet potato latkes, coated in a scallion hollandaise.

Meanwhile chefs Danny Alas and Justin Rodriguez take a different approach. Tapping their Latin and Caribbean roots, the duo goes all out with a benedict that sits atop pan con tomate and includes a serrano ham croquette and dijon hollandaise. Still, they save a little time by nixing the double boiler for hollandaise and opting for a sunny-side up egg over the traditional poached. 

Danny Alas and Justin Rodriguez

Self-described BFFs Danny Alas and Justin Rodriguez moved to New Orleans to help open Nina Compton’s acclaimed Compère Lapin. Their culinary inspiration comes from their collective upbringing—Alas was born in Venezuela; Rodriguez’ family hails from the Dominican Republic.

Alas and Rodriguez pull out all the stops for their Latin-focused plate. “Benedict is always so rich, so why not indulge?” Rodriguez says.  Pan con tomate, the classic tomato-rubbed bread of tapas fame, finds new life as a benedict base.

Slade Rushing, Brennan’s 

For Slade Rushing, there’s only one real benedict—the original. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like playing around with poached eggs and hollandaise. After all, the menu at Brennan’s includes a half-dozen iterations. His recipe pairs the subtle sweetness of shrimp with sweet potato latkes.

Rushing knows hollandaise can be intimidating to home cooks. “It’s simple to make, but easy to mess up,” he says. His best advice? Be patient and eliminate all distractions. “Once you’ve started it, you can’t stop—it’s like a roux.”

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