H and I have this thing where we take the day off for each other’s birthday. We like to make sure that each other has a great day that pretty much revolves around good food. Personally I can’t think of a better thing to eat in the morning than eggs benedict. Or in H’s case eggs florentine being a veggie. I have full respect for chefs that bang these out in large quantities; so many different pots and utensils to create what is a relatively small breakfast. 100% worth it though.
For the hollandaise sauce
100g/3½oz butter, cut into cubes
2 free-range egg yolks
½ tbsp cold water
½ tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the eggs Florentine / Benedict
2 English muffins, split in half horizontally, buttered
2 large handfuls baby spinach, steamed
4 strips of Parma ham
4 free-range eggs, poached
Preheat the grill to medium. For the hollandaise sauce, place 75g/2½ oz of the butter into a small saucepan and melt slowly over a gentle heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the egg yolks into a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (take care not to let the bowl touch the water) and beat until pale and thickened. Add the water, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper to the egg yolks and beat for another 30 seconds.
Add half of the remaining butter to the egg mixture in the bowl and stir for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat and beat in the rest of the butter.
Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking constantly, until the sauce reaches the consistency of double cream. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep the sauce warm by resting the bowl in a pan of lukewarm water. Place the buttered muffins onto a baking tray.
Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil (at least 2 litres) and add the vinegar. Break the eggs into 4 separate coffee cups or ramekins. Split the muffins, toast them and warm some plates. Swirl the vinegared water briskly to form a vortex and slide in an egg. It will curl round and set to a neat round shape. Cook for 2-3 mins, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Repeat with the other eggs, one at a time, re-swirling the water as you slide in the eggs.
Arrange the steamed spinach or Parma ham on top of the muffins, top with the poached eggs and pour the hollandaise sauce over the top
Place the tray under the preheated grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and just turning golden-brown.
Transfer the eggs Florentine onto two serving plates and serve immediately.