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Eggs Florentine

Feb 7, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: A to Z of recipes, Starters, Vegetarian

Eggs FlorentinePerfectly poached eggs lying on a bed of spinach and buried under a lovely cheese sauce.

Serves 4 Preparation time 30 mins Cooking time 20 mins Cost 1.51

Method for the cheese sauce
1. Halve the onion and then put it into a saucepan with the milk, cloves and bay leaf. Bring the milk to the boil, then take it off the heat and keep it aside.
2. In a separate saucepan melt the butter over a low heat and then add the flour and mix it in.
3. Strain the milk and add it gradually to the butter and flour mixture, mixing well to avoid forming lumps.
4. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to very low and add the grated cheese and stir well.
5. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg yolks, and then finally add the grated nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper. (If the sauce is lumpy, pass it through a sieve to get rid of the lumps).

Ingredients for the cheese sauce (Mornay sauce)
50g butter
50g plain flour
500mls milk
1 small onion
5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
100g cheddar or gruyère cheese (grated)
Pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon English mustard
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 egg yolks

Cooking the Spinach

1. Wash and drain the spinach leaves.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
3. Add the spinach leaves, then cover with a lid and let it cook for a few minutes until the spinach is soft but still keeps its shape.
4. Drain the cooked spinach and keep it warm in the pan, but off the heat.

200g spinach leaves (washed and drained)
15g butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Poaching the eggs

  • 1. Fill a very large and deep saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.
  • 2. Crack one of the eggs into a large ladle and gently lower it into the boiling water. As soon as the water has come back to the boil, add another egg in the same way, and then repeat the process with the last two eggs.
  • 3. Cook each egg for exactly 2 minutes, then remove them one by one with a large slotted spoon and place them onto some kitchen roll to get rid of excess water, and then assemble the Eggs Florentine straight away.

Final assembly of Eggs Florentine:

  • 1. Divide the spinach into 4 and make a circular bed of spinach in the centre of 4 warmed plates.
  • 2. Place a poached egg on top of each bed of spinach, and season with some salt and pepper.
  • 3. Cover each egg completely with the warm cheese sauce and serve immediately.

Additional Information

Eggs Florentine go down well for a Sunday brunch. You could put them on top of English Muffins for a more substantial meal, or serve 2 eggs per person as a main course.

These days most restaurants serve Eggs Florentine with a hollandaise sauce (as in Eggs Benedict), rather than the classic cheesey Mornay sauce – both versions taste good as far as I am concerned.

This recipe for the mornay sauce is delicious – the flavour from the onion, bay leaf and cloves makes the sauce taste quite special. One could infuse the milk the day before making the Eggs Florentine and keep the milk with the added ingredients in the fridge overnight to heighten the flavours in the sauce. The addition of the yolks at the end gives the sauce a little bit of colour and an extra richness.

Gruyère tastes lovely in this sauce, but gives it a slightly ‘gritty’ feel. You could use cheddar or any other cheese which melts well instead of the gruyère.

Many recipes add a little bit of vinegar to the boiling water when poaching eggs – this is supposed to help coagulate the eggs, but I find the eggs end up having a slightly vinegary taste, and anyway I find that it doesn’t actually make all that much difference as to how well the eggs coagulate, so I prefer not to add vinegar.

The other point which I would stress is to use a large and very deep pan to poach the eggs – many recipes suggest poaching in a shallow pan, but I find that they stick to the bottom of the pan and end up flat like fried eggs rather than spherical which is how they should be ideally. If you prefer hard yolks then cook the eggs for a little longer – 4 minutes instead of 2 minutes.

You could also add a touch of grated cheese on top of the Eggs Florentine at the end and brown them slightly under a grill.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition per 100g per portion RDA women RDA men RDA child
Polyunsaturates* 0.3 g 0.6 g
Mono Unsaturates* 2.2 g 4.1 g
Saturated Fat 7.7 g 14 g 71% 48% 71%
Total Sugars* 3.4 g 6.2 g 7% 5% 7%
Carbohydrate* 8.4 g 16 g 7% 5% 7%
Energy 179 kcal 332 kcal 17% 13% 18%
Protein 7.3 g 13 g 30% 24% 56%
Fat 13 g 24 g 35% 25% 35%

* Percentage Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet for an average adult.
Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Allergens: Egg, Wheat, Gluten, Milk, Mustard

Cost per recipe:£1.51
Cost per portion:£0.38

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