Monday, January 24, 2011

Florentine Eggs Benedict

Sometimes you must simply go all out and eat something truly decadent. My recent splurge occurred during brunch with Eggs Benedict accompanied by homemade hollandaise sauce, creamed spinach, and roasted portobello mushrooms (served with Smitten Kitchen's winter fruit salad and more than one mimosa).

If you are a calorie counter, then calculating the stats for dish might give you a panic attack. The hollandaise alone has twelve (yes, twelve) tablespoons of butter...not to mention the many egg yolks, and the creamy spinach spiked with a healthy handful of real parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Thankfully, I didn't have time to waste counting calories because I was too busy eating this RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS plate of food. And there is a ton of nutrition to offset the richness so you can't even feel guilty about it. Believe me when I tell you it tasted every bit as good as it looks (and maybe even better than that).

Florentine Eggs Benedict, inspired by a marriage of Giada De Laurentiis's Eggs Florentine and Ina Garten's hollandaise sauce.
2 wheat English muffins, split in half
4 poached eggs (here's how to do it)
4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and wiped clean
12 Tbsp butter, melted and still hot
4 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 big handsful of fresh baby spinach
freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated hard cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, or Pecorino

Poach your eggs in advance and store in a bowl of ice water in the fridge until ready to serve. Before serving, reheat in simmering water for 30 seconds.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees, coat your mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes or until shriveled up and dark brown.

Make hollandaise: In a blender or food processor, put your egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Turn on the blender/processor. Slowly (very, very slowly!) start drizzling in your hot butter. It should be light yellow and thick after all butter has been added. Set aside. When ready to serve, blend again for 10 seconds with 1 Tbsp hot water.

Make creamed spinach: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sweat your onion in a couple Tbsp olive oil and/or butter with salt and pepper until soft. Add spinach in batches until wilted. Add nutmeg, cream, and cheese and cook until bubbling and reduced (about 7-8 minutes).

To assemble: start with 1/2 toasted English muffin, add roasted portobello mushroom cap, add a spoonful of creamed spinach, add reheated poached egg, and top with a spoonful of warm hollandaise.

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