If you’ve ever been to brunch, then you probably know what Eggs Florentine is. A close staple second to mimosas, surprisingly chef Mike Isabella was clueless when it came to the dish in last night’s episode of Top Chef. Scrambling (get it?) to get the information before their time was up, he ended up substituting kale for spinach, and the judges were not amused.
Since we are not professional chefs, it’s completely okay if you didn’t know what Eggs Florentine is. Here is a simple recipe so if ever in this situation, you won’t have a Top Chef disaster.
* Sauteed spinach, recipe follows
* Mornay sauce, recipe follows
* 4 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Prepare the sauteed spinach and keep warm while you prepare the remaining components. Prepare the mornay sauce and keep warm while you prepare the remaining components. Prepare the Crispy Potato Cakes and keep warm in the oven while you poach the eggs.
Break the eggs into individual saucers or cups. Fill a medium skillet halfway with water. Add the vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. Pour eggs into water, cover the skillet and remove from the heat. Allow to sit 4 to 5 minutes.
When the eggs are ready, divide the potato cakes evenly between 2 dinner plates and top each with some of the creamed spinach. Remove the eggs from the skillet with a slotted spoon and gently place on top of the creamed spinach and potato cakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Ladle some of the Mornay Sauce over the eggs and spinach, garnish with parsley, and serve.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 pound spinach, washed, tough stems removed
Salt and freshly grated white pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add the spinach and saute, stirring to wilt and combine with the shallots. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch freshly ground nutmeg, to taste.
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 ounce grated cheese, such as Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmenthaler
In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is pale yellow and frothy, about 1 minute. Do not allow the roux to brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and whisk until melted. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a little milk.
Use sauce immediately or refrigerate, surface covered with plastic wrap, for several days in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 1 cup
Crispy Potato Pancakes:
3/4 pound russet potatoes (about 1 large)
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and crumbled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Peel the potato and put in cold water. Using a mandoline, grater, or food processor, coarsely grate the potato. Place in a fine-mesh sieve or strainer and squeeze out all of the potato liquid over a bowl. After the starch has settled to the bottom of the bowl, carefully pour off the clear liquid, reserving the starch. Add the grated potato to the starch in the bowl, along with the reserved crumbled bacon, egg, salt and pepper.
Heat a nonstick pan with a small amount of oil in the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, take about one-quarter of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand and, using the other hand, flatten and squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Place the potato mixture in the heated pan and cook, pressing down with a spatula to flatten, until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining potato cakes.