Friday, August 24, 2012

Eggs Florentine, Sort Of

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Egg Florentine.

We've been eating poached eggs for weeks now because it's my son's new favourite food. He said poached eggs are way better than fried eggs. Someone's grown up.

Poached eggs used to be harder to make than souffle for me but after many attempts, using many methods, I can poach eggs without feeling anxious. Forget about using cling film (ew) or special egg poachers. Also, don't be anxious. It's just eggs, cheap and easily available. The golden rule is to start with very fresh chilled eggs. Stale eggs have watery whites that will spread out into strands. In hot weather especially, the eggs should be taken out of the fridge just before cooking because a chilled egg is less runny. A good poached egg should have a runny yolk with the white set, compact and rounded around the yolk.

The best way to poach eggs is the vortex method. This just means that you stir the boiling water in a pot until you get a whirlpool. The egg is cracked into a small bowl (easier to control, especially if you are afraid of poaching eggs) and slipped into the calm center of the swirling water. The swirl of the water will keep the egg white from spreading out. A teaspoon of vinegar, said to set the eggs faster, can be added to the boiling water before the egg is slipped in but I've found that it's not necessary although my son says otherwise.

I used to find it such a chore to make Eggs Benedict because of the Hollandaise sauce. Honestly, would you want to make Hollandaise sauce for two Eggs Benedict? What I do now is just thin mayo (Japanese Kewpie mayo is the best substitute for Hollandaise sauce because it has a strong egg yolk flavor) with dairy cream. Sometimes I add whole grain mustard or ordinary mustard. My son prefers to make his paoched eggs and bread with his cream cheese-mayo-chives sauce. It's very yummy and reminded me of Australian brekkies.

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The irregularly-shaped egg on top was made in boiling water, no vortex. The two round eggs at the bottom were poached vortex method.

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An even faster way with poached eggs is Eggs Florentine which just replaces the bacon or ham of Eggs Benedict with spinach. The spinach is usually blanched but you can serve it raw too. Traditionally poached Eggs Benedict or Florentine are made with toasted English muffins but I made do with what I had on hand, toasted slices of wholemeal bread.

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Looks too green for my hub and son.

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This looks more appetizing to them, poached eggs on blanched spinach topped with Gruyere cheese and 'Hollandaise' sauce. I find that it's not necessary to grill the assembled Egg Florentine. The blanket of sauce looks rather bumpy because of the lumps of cream cheese underneath.

So, to re-cap:

1. Mix mayo with dairy cream to make a sauce. You can add mustard if like
2. Blanch the spinach, squeeze dry. Or you can leave spinach raw.
3. Crack a fresh chilled egg into a small bowl. Boil a small pot of water. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar (optional). Use a fork or even chopstick to swirl the boiling water fast until it becomes a whirlpool with a calm centre. Slip the egg in and cover with a lid. Remove after 30 seconds, use a fork or spoon to lift the egg off the bottom of the pot if it's stuck, and let egg boil until the white is set but the yolk is still soft and runny. Lift with a slotted spoon onto a piece of kitchen paper to blot.
4. Toast the bread or English muffin.
5. Put the spinach on the toast, top with the egg and cheese (if using) and spoon the 'Hollandaise sauce' over to cover the egg. Top with chopped chives. Serve immediately to happy kids.

8 comments:

rogermht said...

Your son is very lucky to have a mom who loves to dish out good food!

Nee said...

I agree w roger. That lOoks so appetizing!

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

You've inspired me to make poached eggs again. Like you I've tried different methods and found that the vortex works best for me.

the lunch guy said...

one of my favorite egg dishes! well done.

also poached eggs with corned beef hash.

yesterday i had poached eggs with smoked salmon on toasted whole wheat english muffins slathered with a bit of cream cheese. (no bagels in the house, what a travesty!)

now that your egg poaching fears have abated, and you are turning out perfection, here is a very good, restaurant tested for 20 years, recipe for quick hollandaise.

although this method is not the traditional one using a double boiler, supple whisk, employing lots of technique and elbow grease, the ingredients are proper and the results fantastic.

the restaurant where i picked up this recipe uses a blender to make the sauce, and that is ok if you are making a lot of it. but if you only want to make a half batch with 2 yolks i find using a blender stick and a tall narrow container to work very well. just be careful that the sauce ingredients don't get propelled out of the container and into your face!!!!!!!!!!!!! its best if the container's diameter is just a bit more than that of the blender sticks base.

the trick, as in the traditional method, is to have the yolks whipped until very pale in color, and the butter must be truly hot because you are not using the double boiler to create the heat needed to cook the sauce ever so gently.

it may take a try or two (may be three) to get this perfected, but i have found it a great way to save time, elbow grease, and serve up a very nice rendition of this crowd pleasing sauce.

4 EGG YOLKS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE (typically it is 1 egg for 2 servings)
300 GRAMS OF SWEET BUTTER
WATER 20 ML
35 ML LEMON JUICE (lime juice can be used, but not the authentic taste)
SALT TO TASTE
WHITE PEPPER TO TASTE
10 GRAMS OF WHITE WINE VINEGAR
A DROP OR TWO OF TABASCO SAUCE


1. HEAT BUTTER TO TEMPERATURE OF 70 DEGREES AND SKIM OFF ANY WHITE FOAM ON TOP.
2. PLACE EGG YOLKS AND COLD WATER IN BLENDER (OR PINT CONTAINER) AND BLEND (OR WHIP WITH STICK) UNTIL PALE IN COLOR.
3. SLOWLY ADD THE MELTED BUTTER WHILE BLENDING UNTIL THE MIXTURE THICKENS.
4. IF ITS TOO THICK ADD A FEW DROPS OF WARM WATER.
5. ADD LEMON JUICE, SALT, WHITE PEPPER, TABASCO, AND WHITE WINE VINEGAR.

YOU CAN ALSO MAKE A VERY "HI-SO" VERSION USING FLAT CHAMPAGNE OR CHAMPAGNE VINEGAR IN PLACE OF THE WHITE VINEGAR.

ONCE THE SAUCE IS MADE YO CAN THEN ADD SOME DIJON IF YOU LIKE. THIS IS ESPECIALLY GOOD ON POACHED FISH OR CHILLED VEAL.

YOU CAN ALSO ADD A TARRAGON REDUCTION TO MAKE BEARNAISE. AND THEN ADD A DAB OF MARINARA SAUCE OR TOMATO PASTE TO THE BEARNAISE TO MAKE CHORON SAUCE WHICH IS GREAT ON CHILLED ROASTED BEEF WITH WATERCRESS. SANDWICH THAT BETWEEN TO PIECES OF BUTTER GRILLED BAGUETTES AND YOU HAVE THE BEST SANDWICH ON EARTH.

IF YOU ARE A FAN OF CREPES, OR AU GRATIN DISHES, YOU CAN ALSO TAKE A FINISHED HOLLANDAISE SAUCE AND FOLD IN SOME UNSWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM. THIS IS CALLED GLACE OR MOUSSELINE. YOU THEN SPOON THE GLACE OVER THE CREPES, OR FISH, OR WHATEVER YOU MAY HAVE, AND THEN FIRE IT OFF UNDER A BROILER OR WITH A KITCHEN TORCH TO 'BURN' OR GLAZE IT AS YOU WOULD A DESERT.

the lunch guy said...

here's a list of some great variations:

Sauce Mousseline - - whipped cream folded in to Hollandaise (also known as Sauce Chantilly).
Sauce Bearnaise - - replace lemon in recipe with a reduction of vinegar, shallots, and fresh chervil and/or tarragon, strained.
Sauce Maltaise - - orange zest (blanched) and juice, blood orange for authenticity.
Sauce Divine - - reduced sherry folded into whipped cream.
Sauce Noisette - - Hollandaise made with browned butter (beurre noisette).
Sauce Bavaroise - - cream, horseradish, thyme.
Sauce Foyot - - add meat glaze (Glace de Viande) to Bearnaise; also known as Sauce Valoise.
Sauce Colbert - - Sauce Foyot with addition of reduced white wine.
Sauce Paloise - - Bearnaise but substitute mint for tarragon (great with Lamb).
Sauce Creme Fleurette - - add Crème fraîche.
Sauce Choron - - Foyot plus tomato purée.
Sauce Dijon - - add Dijon mustard (also known as Sauce Moutarde or Sauce Girondine).
Sauce vin Blanc (for fish) - - add reduction white wine and fish stock.

borrowed from here: http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101005002106AAQ3cXp

terri@adailyobsession said...

Lunchguy: oh gosh what r u doing? Everything sounds so good--smoked salmon wih poached eggs, my son's fav food. Poached eggs with corn beef hash...hahha i just read your combo to him n he groaned. What kind of eggs do u use for makimg the hollandaise sauce tho? Am not too comfortable about our eggs...

terri@adailyobsession said...

Lunchguy: i obviousy mean how do you know the raw egg is good for eating raw?

the lunch guy said...

when i make something like this where the eggs are not fully cooked i use ones that i buy in a grocery store and not the fresh market. i also buy a brand like KFC or CP Group, or some such similar brand name product. these are the guys that raise chickens and now sell eggs too. they are all washed and inspected and packed hygienically and are in stores where they are not on the shelf for more than a day.

you will never be 100% certain, but this will make it as fool proof as it can be. i also am careful when i handle eggs, and they have any feces or feathers on them i wash them, and then i wash my hands. i think a lot of the bacteria is on the outside, and it gets on your fingers when you handle them, and then it gets into the egg when you crack it.

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