Eggs Florentine is an easy and delicious vegetarian variation on Eggs Benedict. It's a great combination that's perfect for brunch, or any excuse you choose!
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New York is where I first learned to love brunch. Before then, to be honest I wasn't even much of a breakfast enthusiast. I grew up just quickly eating a banana most days, with maybe something cooked like bacon and eggs or a fuller fried breakfast at the weekend, depending what my mum felt like making.
When I visited New York, though, a friend took us to brunch and I loved the sound of pretty much everything. So much so, that when I moved there soon after, it become a regular habit. And one that stuck around, even if less often.
When we got married, one of the first things we looked for the next morning was where to get a good brunch nearby. Eggs Benedict has always been a favorite and I do love many variations on the theme as well, like eggs Royale.
Sometimes I feel like an option that feels slightly lighter (and in my mind, healthier, though really only slightly). This spinach variation is a great option for those times, and more.
Why is it called eggs Florentine?
"A la Florentine" is a term used in cooking to refer to dishes made in the Forentine style (ie from the Florence area). It typically means being served on a bed of sautéed spinach with Mornay sauce.
Often, you top the dish with cheese and broil the top. The style can be used with various meats and fish as well as, as you can see here, eggs.
While the origins are a bit unclear, it is said to have originated from food served at the wedding of Catherine of Medici when she moved to France. So in reality, it doesn't really mean it's a traditional style of Italy but rather a French interpretation.
Eggs Florentine are typically not served au gratin, and these days you are just as likely to see it with Hollandaise sauce (like other Benedict variations) as with Mornay.
Here I have gone with Hollandaise as personally, I think it works better flavor-wise. The freshness from the lemon cuts through the ironiness of the spinach.
Tips for making this dish
This isn't particularly difficult to make, but it does have a few components which ideally all happen at pretty much the same time. So, you do need to get yourself a little organized.
So, take the stems off the spinach and split open the muffins before you start. Get your water hot to poach the eggs and get the yolk base of the Hollandaise ready. Then, start cooking.
To a point, the order of everything else doesn't matter that much. However I find the eggs cool quickly and so I prefer to cook them last, partly for this reason.
I typically toast the muffins at the same time as the eggs cook, as that's easy enough to do. You can also saute the spinach at the same time, if you're feeling up to it. Otherwise, both the sauce and the spinach will keep warm a minute so you can do before. Just be sure to plate everything relatively quickly to enjoy it warm.
Eggs Florentine is a wonderfully tasty and easy vegetarian take on a Benedict that's better than just a "no meat" alternative. Tasty flavors, that work so well. Brunch at it's finest.
Try these other brunch favorites:
- Swedish cardamom buns
- Baked eggs with mushroom and asparagus
- Turkish eggs (poached eggs over garlic-dill yogurt)
- Flamenco eggs (a Spanish baked egg dish with chorizo)
- Plus get more breakfast and brunch recipes in the archives.
- 2 English muffins
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 2 oz spinach (approx), 2 handfuls
- 4 eggs
For the Hollandaise sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Slice the muffins in half to give you two rounds from each and get broiler/grill ready to toast, if using. Heat a pot of water for poaching your eggs and wash ands remove any tough stems from the spinach. Roughly chop if the leaves are large.
- First, start on the hollandaise sauce - put the two egg yolks into a blender container along with the cayenne pepper, mustard and lemon juice and blend until smooth.
- Melt the ½tbsp butter for the spinach in a small skillet/frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spinach and wilt it down (it will only take a minute) and set aside.
- Poach your four whole eggs until the whites are translucent and the yolks are still slightly soft - roughly 2 minutes.
- As the eggs are almost ready, toast your muffins and melt the butter for the sauce.
- Add the melted butter in a steady pour to the egg yolk mixture, with the blender running the whole time so that it is properly combined.
- Serve it all up - on each plate place the two halves of a muffin with some of the spinach on top of each half. Place an egg on top of each half muffin then drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the top.
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