shutterstock_115639039 (640x427)Planning to treat your mom to a special brunch on Sunday?  Be a master of the menu (and show up those siblings!) by brushing up on one of the most popular and decadent American brunch dishes: Eggs Benedict.

Like many widespread and well-loved recipes, Eggs Benedict has more than one “creation story.”  One of these, detailed in this great read from the New York Times, features stockbroker and man about town Lemuel Benedict, who arrived for breakfast at the Waldorf Hotel with a hangover in 1894.  Benedict ordered poached eggs, bacon, toast and a pitcher of hollandaise sauce and proceeded to build himself an open-faced sandwich of sorts.  The hotel’s famed maitre d’hotel, “Oscar of the Waldorf,” is said to have been so impressed with the concoction that he added it to the menu – with two small modifications: English muffins instead of toast, and ham instead of bacon.

These days, you’re almost sure to find this dish, which features a poached egg atop a toasted English muffin and slice of Canadian bacon smothered in hollandaise sauce, on brunch menus in every part of the country.  Eggs Benedict has come a long way from one man’s favorite hangover cure.  Chefs around the world have tinkered with this simple and savory dish, substituting one ingredient or switching up the sauce to change the flavor.  Here are some of our favorite variations of this tasty brunch treat:

shutterstock_19639345Eggs Florentine: Probably the most common of the Eggs Benedict offshoots, Eggs Florentine substitutes spinach for the Candian Bacon.  Some versions, like the one at The Blarney Stone in Dorchester, Mass., also include a slice of fresh tomato.  Great for vegetarians who want to enjoy the dish, the green spinach also adds a pleasing pop of color and subtracts a few calories from the concoction.

Southwestern Style:  Fans of Mexican cuisine will be happy to learn there are many varieties of Eggs Benedict that include a spicy flare, from substituting chili con queso or salsa for the hollandaise to adding a smoked poblano pepper in place of the Canadian bacon.  We suggest the Texas Style Eggs Benedict at Ancho’s in Austin, Texas, which features cured ham, cilantro hollandaise, black beans and guacamole.

Steak Benedict: Perfect for the red meat-loving folks in your life, Eggs Benedict with steak instead of Canadian Bacon is a great way to dress up steak and eggs.  If you’re in Orlando, check out the Tenderloin Benedict at 310 Lakeside.

shutterstock_45711925Salmon Benedict: Smoked salmon is another popular substitute for Canadian bacon in Eggs Benedict.  This version is common at more upscale restaurants and hotels.  You can find it on the menu at Bon Vivant in Cleveland, Ohio.

Crab Benedict: You guessed it!  This version substitutes crab for Canadian bacon.  A great way to go for seafood fans or those looking to change up their breakfast ingredients.  We recommend the Blue Crab Eggs Benedict at Markethouse Restaurant in Chicago.

Greek Benedict: One of the most unusual varieties we’ve seen, this benedict uses gyro meet (usually lamb).  The Gyros Benedict at Old Mill Brewery in Littleton, Colo., uses gyro meat, a fried egg, feta, onion, tomato and hollandaise.

We hope these options got your taste buds thinking!  Click here to search for a restaurant with the benedict of your choice near you, then tell us what your favorite Eggs Benedict is in the comments section below!