When Florence, Italy native Catherine de Medici married the future Henry II of France in 1533, she brought her household staff with her to France. Some of the foods her cooks prepared were unfamiliar to the French at the time. So when her cook introduced spinach to the French nobility the dish was called alla Fiorentina, (in the style of Florence).
I always have a box of frozen spinach in my freezer, to conveniently prepare Eggs Florentine at breakfast, brunch or dinner. I found a recipe in a Weight Watchers International Cookbook back in the 1970’s, and I’ve changed it plenty of times. I like to use an English muffin when I do it. I’ve tried using creamed spinach and different cheeses in it. But I’ll tell you one thing; it’s good groceries 24 hours a day, and quick.
EGGS FLORENTINE serves 4
10 ounces (283gm) frozen chopped spinach
4 ounces (115gm) grated cheese, such as mozzarella, asiago or provolone; reserve 2 tablespoons or add a little more for final topping.
½ cup milk or cream
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 toasted English muffins (or 8 slices of regular bread toast if you prefer)
Cook the spinach minimally and drain. A microwave is fast and easy. Put in a warm saucepan to dry it out briefly. Add all (except the reserved) cheese, milk, salt, basil, nutmeg and pepper. Heat up blending well.
Poach the eggs in near boiling water with a little vinegar until set, about 4 minutes. Alternately, you could instead fry the eggs briefly over medium heat in butter or olive oil, add a couple of drops of water to the skillet and then cover and shut the heat off and let sit for about 3 minutes.
Divide the spinach mixture on each toasted muffin half or bread toast slice.
Either remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon or from the frying pan. Place one egg atop each piece.
Evenly divide the reserved cheese over the eggs. You could put under a broiler for a minute to melt the cheese or not. You could put a cheese sauce (Sauce Mornay) over it but that would require a little more effort. I like it; it’s easier than a Hollandaise.
If you’re having it for supper, a green salad goes well. And a nice cream soup. I hope you will try this recipe; its ease of preparation belies the fact that it is a tasty wholesome meal.