Sunday, April 19, 2009

Eggs Florentine

After a beautiful, practically summer day on Saturday, I woke this morning to find rain, rain, rain. So I thought it would be fun to make a nice brunch. I started with The Encyclopedic Cookbook (1965) and made “Buttermilk Muffins.” They would have turned out much better if I hadn’t turned the oven off half-way through. I think that pretty much sums up that recipe.

“Eggs Florentine” was also on the menu. Now I’ve heard of Eggs Florentine, but have never actually had it. The recipe seemed really easy. I had a bag of spinach in the freezer and some leftover collard greens from my weekly produce box and it seemed like a fortuitous intersection of weird ingredients at the ready. (Please note the photo in the book. This is the Eggs Florentine before it is cooked. Funny, I wouldn't have made that choice.)

I made a few changes. I used white cheddar instead of American cheese. And I also had a bunch of collards that I had cooked in left over Bagna Cauda. I was introduced to this sauce in the book Twist of the Wrist (2007), by Nancy Silverton. It’s a fantastic cookbook that uses tinned, jarred, and frozen items. Many of the recipes require a high degree of skill. Amazon has it listed under the heading Convenience Cooking. Man, are people pissed when it arrives. By “convenience” most people are thinking quick and easy. A better way to think about this cookbook is: I just got home from my restaurant and brought a few friends with me. It’s two o’clock in the morning. What can I make with ingredients from my pantry that will go with this excellent bottle of wine? Anyway, there is a recipe for Bagna Cauda which she says is sauce. Really, it’s just adulterated butter. It is unbelievably great and keeps really well in the refrigerator.

Bagna Cauda
from Nancy Silverton’s Twist of the Wrist

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup of 1 2.8-ounce jar)
8 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter, olive oil, anchovies, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes, breaking up anchovies while they cook and stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t brown. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce another 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and lemon zest and juice, and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I was surprised by how well this turned out. It had to cook a little longer than stated, but it was really great. Before I started cooking from Culinary Arts Institute cookbooks, I never ever had a need for bread-crumbs. These books are really bread-crumb heavy and I have learned that finishing everything with bread-crumbs tends to make dishes look mighty alike.

1 comment:

Steph said...

As a lucky recipient of said Eggs Florentine, I eagerly vouch for the heady goodness of the above. It was deliciously perfect for a rainy, cold Sunday. I'm thinking it would be deliciously perfect on any other day, too...