Corn Cakes Topped with Avocado, Tomato, Poached Eggs and Smoked Salmon

This savory and hearty brunch tower is not only full of flavor but the presentation is restaurant quality. Poached eggs have a great texture and appearance. Many people are intimidated by poaching eggs, but trust me, it's super easy when you follow my simple method.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Savory Corn Cakes:

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1/2 jalapeno, seeded, deveined and finely chopped (or more, if desired)

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

Salted butter, for frying

Poached Eggs:

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons white vinegar or rice vinegar

Toppings:

2 ripe medium avocados

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 very ripe, medium tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick

6 to 8 ounces smoked salmon (I use nova)

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Directions

  1. Make the corn cakes: Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature setting.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk and oil in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture along with the jalapeno and cilantro. Whisk just until combined to make a batter.
  4. Add a pat of butter to a griddle or large skillet. Heat over medium heat until the surface is hot and the butter is melted. Working in batches and adding more butter as needed, pour about 1/4 cup batter to form each 4- to 5-inch pancake; cook until bubbles form on the top and the bottoms are golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the corn cakes to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  5. Meanwhile, poach the eggs (see Cook's Note): Bring a large pot of water to almost a boil. Add the vinegar, which will help the eggs set.
  6. Swirl the simmering water, then gently crack each egg into a small bowl and release right above the surface of the water. This is very important in order to prevent them from breaking and to achieve the proper consistency.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand until the egg whites are fully cooked and the egg looks like a smooth ball, about 4 minutes. You want the yolks to be runny!
  8. Remove each poached egg with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  9. While the eggs poach, prepare the toppings: Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. To serve: Dollop about 1 tablespoon (or more, if you like) mashed avocado onto each corn cake. Top with 1 slice of tomato and a poached egg. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Drape a nicely folded piece of smoked salmon (about 1 ounce for each cake) over the top and garnish with black pepper and cilantro sprigs. Serve and enjoy!

Cook’s Note

This recipe makes 1 corn cake and egg per person. If you are only serving this, double the recipe. Instead of poaching the eggs, you could fry them over-medium in a skillet.