Eggs Florentine with Sliced Tomatoes

I was watching Ann Burrell the other day “The Best Thing I Ever Made,” a Food Network show – she turned out an Eggs Flameco that looked marvelous – that recipe, though, reminded me of another old favorite, and a much healthier one: Eggs Florentine.

Eggs Florentine - poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach
Eggs Florentine – poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach

Lightly poached eggs nestled into a bed of fresh, flavorful sautéed spinach, gently napped with a Mornay cheese sauce and broiled until golden brown, bubbly and delicious…it may be a bit of a cheat, but I’ve found that even those who aren’t terribly fond of spinach lap it up with a little cheese sauce.  How could one go wrong?

Well, there are a couple of ways:  over cook your poached eggs, use frozen spinach (ok in a pinch but is very watery and gets way overcooked), use a hollandaise instead of the gorgeous Morney, or futz up the simple, beautiful flavors with a gloppy mixture of mayo, sour cream and other “short cut” ingredients.

Eggs Florentine - poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach
Eggs Florentine – poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach

There ARE several steps to making this, but this classic Italian dish is well worth the few extra minutes to lightly saute the spinach and whisk up a small amount of Mornay. The microwave poached eggs are a marvelous short cut that you’ll use over and over. They turn out so wonderfully that you’ll never poach in a pan again!

I put this on the table with careful shopping (see below) for about $4.76. If the whim strikes you, add a bit of toast, a slice or two of bacon (or prosciutto) and you’ve got a meal that goes from breakfast to brunch to dinner with ease. Serve with a little malt vinegar for the spinach and some hot sauce for those who like to doctor things up.

Eggs Florentine - poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach
Eggs Florentine – poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach

Eggs Florentine

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • Lightly poach 4 eggs (they will cook a bit more under the broiler)
  • Make Mornay sauce (recipe follows)
  • Saute Spinach (recipe follows)
  • 1 large tomato or two small, cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese

Divide sautéed spinach among 4 plates. Top each with a poached egg and 1/4 of the Mornay sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese. Place briefly under broiler until cheese turns golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with a few tomato slices. If you’re serving heartier appetites, use two eggs per person.

Note:

  • To make it easy on yourself, put all the plates on a cookie sheet and broil them at once. Have a second set of plates ready and place the hot plate on top of a cool one for serving.
  • When broiling, if your Florentines don’t seem to get too brown, don’t worry about it – it’s better to take them out pale rather than have the eggs and spinach over cooked. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika for color.
Mornay Sauce

makes about 1 cup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces, about 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss

Melt butter in small saucepan, when foaming subsists add in flour and stir briskly with a whisk for a moment, do not allow to brown. Pour in milk, whisking continuously until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add seasonings and stir in cheese with a spoon. Set aside.

Mornay sauce is simply a White Sauce with a bit of cheese added – it literally takes minutes to make.

Sautéed Spinach
  • 2 bunch of spinach, washed and tough ends removed, about 10 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Several grates of nutmeg

Melt butter in a large skillet or saucepan, saute onion for just a moment or two until translucent. Add spinach (just add it while still damp from washing) and saute for a moment or two until slightly wilted and softened. It will continue to cook a bit more when the final dish is still under the broiler.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time, buying at the best prices and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

Left Overs:

  • Have a little cheese sauce leftover?  I know if you’ve read my ideas on left overs, you probably have an idea how much I dislike waste and how I think left overs are the basically building blocks for so many recipes.
  • When I made the Eggs Florentine, I had a bit of the cheese sauce left but no spinach – rather than throw away that small amount, I combined it with my leftover broccoli from the night before – and came up with a marvelous souffle.
  • This is a perfect recipe to PLAN to have a little extra Mornay by doubling the recipe and then using it to make any number of items using a white sauce or mornay sauce.
  • Mornay sauce like this is also wonderful over a sandwich like a Hot Brown or a Croque Monsieur for lunch the next day.

My souffle started out like this:

Put Your own Spin on It:

This classic dish can be varied so many ways!

  • Omit the spinach and serve it over toast; serve it over prosciutto slices broiled in your oven.
  • Add an extra layer of flavor:  Use red onion flake and garlic in the spinach, douse it with a little red wine vinegar before putting the dish together.  You could use other greens, and even use bacon to cook them with.
  • Vary the flavor profile:  Turn this dish into a Latin masterpiece by serving with refried beans, use a little chorizo in the spinach and a Colby jack in the Mornay…

Pricing originally done June 2013 for $3.76. Repriced March 2014 for $4.26. The difference: Out of season Spinach cost me more!

Safety Note:

Raw or under cooked eggs may pose a safety risk.

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