Eggs Florentine, Benedict, and Arnold. The names always remind me of a Revolutionary War spy ring. But actually they’re three classic egg preparations. For the vegetarians among us, there’s eggs Florentine, made with creamed spinach and hollandaise sauce. Pescatarians can enjoy eggs Arnold made with smoked salmon in place of spinach, while the carnivores out there can dig into lovely poached eggs topped with thick-cut ham, otherwise known as eggs Benedict. Ain’t options grand?–David Leite
LC Easier Peasier Hollandaise
Are you hollandaise-averse? Not in terms of eating the classic egg topper, but in terms of making this traditional and, for some, terrifying sauce? Rest easy. We’ve got an even easier-peasier alternative to hollandaise sauce. It’s a blender hollandaise recipe you can make in place of the one found below. Your choice.
Eggs Florentine Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 30 M
- Serves 2 to 4
- For the hollandaise sauce
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice
- For the eggs Florentine
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 10 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices buttered toast
- Cress or chives, finely chopped, for garnish
- Make the hollandaise sauce
- 1. Place a saucepan of water over medium heat. You want the water to be simmering, not boiling. Place a heatproof bowl containing the egg yolks over but not touching the pan of water. Start whisking immediately.
- 2. Slowly add the butter to the egg yolks, a few pieces at a time, whisking vigorously until it’s incorporated before adding more butter. Keep the temperature beneath the butter on low and take your time, adding the butter s-l-o-w-l-y. The key thing here is low and slow so the eggs do not scramble. Instead, you want to emulsify the egg and butter together. [Editor’s Note: Basically, you want to melt the butter without scrambling the eggs.]
- 3. Keep cooking and stirring until the hollandaise sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If it gets too thick, add a splash of cold water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a squeeze lemon juice for a touch of sharpness to smooth out that creamy richness. Serve as soon as possible, as hollandaise does not reheat well. Trust us.
- Make and assemble the eggs Florentine
- 4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in the heavy cream, and let simmer for a minute or so, until it starts to reduce and thicken. Throw in the spinach leaves and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the leaves have wilted. Pull the skillet from the heat and season the spinach with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg.
- 5. Fill a deepish saucepan with about 3 inches water and bring it to a gentle, not rolling, boil. Add the vinegar and stir to make a whirlpool effect. Crack the 4 eggs carefully into the pot. The whirlpool and the vinegar will help each egg white stay together rather than stretch into some ghastly amoeba-like shape.
- 6. Allow the eggs to gently simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. You’re aiming for a wobbly but well-cooked white with a runny yolk. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess water.
- 7. Top the buttered toast with the creamed spinach. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, you can cut the toast into circles just slightly larger than the egg using a biscuit cutter. Carefully place an egg on top of each stack and spoon a generous helping of hollandaise on top. Garnish the eggs Florentine with the cress or chives.
Eggs Florentine Variations
- Eggs Benedict
- Ah, the classic. For this, use thick-cut ham slices in place of the creamed spinach.
- Eggs Arnold
- Instead of creamed spinach, cut a few slices of excellent-quality fresh smoked salmon and slap them on the toast.
- Eggs Blackstone
- Use some marvelously lovely bacon (you are making your own homemade bacon, right?) instead of the spinach, and top with a tomato slice.
- Crab Cakes Benedict
- Swap out the spinach for a crab cake.
- Eggs Sardou
- In this version, the spinach is replaced with artichokes, anchovies, and a few shavings of truffle. (Truffle oil would work in its place, if needed, natch.)
- Fried Green Tomato Benedict
- For this little gem, replace the spinach with a crunchy fried green tomato.
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Eggs Florentine Recipe © 2012 Jane and Myles Lamberth. Photo © 2012 Mike Searle. All rights reserved.
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