Tujague’s New Orleans French Quarter restaurant is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, along with a history of famous guests and dishes. Writer O. Henry and composer Cole Porter both visited Tujague’s in the early years when Madame Begue helmed the kitchen. One of the most significant dishes that both Henry and Porter might have enjoyed was Eggs Decatur from the famed “Butcher’s Breakfast,” which led to the international tradition of brunch.
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 lb. bacon or 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 each red and green bell peppers, finely diced
1 lb. boiled brisket of beef, finely chopped
Vegetable oil for pan searing
12 Poached Eggs (recipe below)
Classic Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)
12 cups water
6 Tbsp. white vinegar
12 large eggs
Bring the water to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add the vinegar. Working in batches, gently crack eggs into the water. Simmer until poached, about 2 minutes for soft-set yolks. Remove eggs from water and drain.
Classic Hollandaise Sauce:
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 lb. butter, melted
In a double boiler set over medium heat, combine the egg yolks with the salt, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Whisk the ingredients continuously until the mixture has increased in volume and achieved a consistency that coats the whisk. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter, whisking continuously. If the sauce appears too thick, add a few drops of cold water to achieve the proper consistency. Makes 3 cups.
Cover the potatoes with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve for another use.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, brisket and Creole seasoning to taste. Cook until just heated through. Remove from heat, and using a potato masher or large wooden spoon, mash the mixture into a paste-like consistence. Allow the mixture to rest until cool enough to handle.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Form the meat-and-potato mixture into 12 3-inch patties. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, brown the cakes on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Place the patties on an ovenproof plate and set in the warm oven.
For each portion, place 2 ￼patties on a serving plate. Top each patty with a poached egg. Drizzle each portion generously with Hollandaise Sauce. Serves 6.
Recipe courtesy of Tujague’s restaurant; photo by Sam Hanna.