Creamy Eggs Florentine with Crispy Sourdough Crumbs
This eggs-for-dinner recipe requires very few ingredients, so buy the best farm-fresh eggs and baby spinach you can find. You’re also looking for irregular bits of freshly ground bread crumbs to add texture here, so use homemade bread crumbs instead of purchased. Other than that, this recipe is very adaptable. You can substitute sautéed mushrooms, zucchini or tomatoes for the spinach; in fact, just about any tender vegetable will taste great. Serve with warm sourdough bread and crisp, dry white wine like a Spanish Albariño.
- 1 small sourdough roll or slice of rustic sourdough bread, torn into small pieces
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz./45 g) thinly sliced shallots
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) baby spinach
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray two 4-cup (32 fl. oz./1-l capacity) gratin dishes with cooking spray and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
Pulse the bread in a food processor or chop with a chef’s knife until coarse crumbs form. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs, thyme and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the bread crumbs are browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bread crumbs onto a plate.
Wipe out the sauté pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until they begin to brown, 45 seconds. Add the spinach by the handful and toss with tongs until it is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Place the spinach in the 2 gratin dishes. Crack 4 eggs into each dish, spacing them evenly. Pour the cream around the eggs and sprinkle with the tarragon, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Bake, rotating the baking dishes once, until the egg whites are set and the yolks are slightly runny, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the dishes from the oven. Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the dishes, dividing them evenly, and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen 2014)