Good Monday morning, everyone! I hope y’all all had a lovely weekend.
Ours was nice – we spent Saturday morning doing our appointed rounds – the farmer’s market, visiting our butcher and a nearby health food store (a term I dislike immensely, but it sounds a lot less pretentious than “natural foods market”) in the morning. In the evening, we went Sarah’s Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls for their Summer Solstice Festival with our friends Linda and John (Hi, Linda and John!!) after being treated to a delicious platter of cold meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables as well as some great wine in their lovely home. We had a blast, and I can’t wait to get together with them again.
Sunday was Father’s Day; we drove to the Nimisila Resevior in Summit county to look for the bald eagles that are supposed to nest there every year. We did not see the bald eagles (insert sad face here), but we did observe a pair of osprey who were in the process of feeding their young. Unfortunately, they were too far away for me to get a decent photo, even with my zoom lens, but the photos I did get were clear enough to see what they are and what they are doing. I also got a couple of good photos of an orchard oriole (Beloved is quite the bird watcher and spied it long before I would have, if I’d even seen it at all), so I may post them this coming weekend.
Father’s Day also meant that it was Eggs Benedict for breakfast – Beloved’s favorite. I’ve posted the traditional recipe before (waaaaaaay back when), but thought I’d post this one, since it’s a bit of a deviation from the norm (and we all know I’m a deviant 😛 ). The traditional English muffin and Canadian bacon have been replaced with sautéed spinach, a thick slice of tomato and smoked salmon, and the entire thing is topped with crisp, crumbled bacon. I don’t much care for Eggs Benedict (and wouldn’t have been able to eat it even if I did – all that butter), but Beloved loved it. At least I think he did, since he ate three servings, including the one I plated for the photo.
This recipe isn’t really difficult, although it is involved. Timing is everything, because if you let the hollandaise sauce sit too long, it will be in danger of curdling or separating and the eggs will become too cool.
Eggs Benedict Florentine
6 large eggs
1 pound spinach leaves, stems removed
1 large onion, peeled and diced
8 garlic scapes, cut into small pieces OR 1 clove garlic,
6 slices bacon
2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
6 thick tomato slices
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 large egg yolks lightly beaten
3 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
Prepare the spinach: In a large, heavy skillet, cook the bacon until crisp; drain on a paper towel and set aside. Pour the fat off the pan, reserving two tablespoons.
In the same pan used to cook the bacon, heat the reserved bacon fat over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic scapes and cook until the onion and scapes are very soft and just beginning to brown. (If using minced garlic, add the garlic last and cook 1 additional moment.) Add the spinach and sauté until the spinach is completely wilted and soft; season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and keep warm.
Begin the hollandaise sauce: Melt the stick of butter in the top of a stainless steel double boiler over, not in, simmering (not boiling) water. Add egg yolks and cold water; beat with wire whisk until fluffy and lemon colored. Add melted butter, lemon juice, salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Do not boil. Whisk until sauce thickens and keep warm over very low heat while poaching the eggs, whisking frequently and adding a little hot water if the sauce thickens too much.
Poach the eggs: Pierce the large end of each egg with the pin about 3/8 of an inch deep; lower the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water for exactly 10 seconds, remove immediately and set aside – this will help the egg keep it’s shape during the poaching process. Pour 1/4 cup of plain, white vinegar into a wide, fairly shallow pan of simmering water; the vinegar will also help the egg retain it’s shape when poaching. Crack an egg sharply against the side of the pan and, holding the egg as closely to the surface of the simmering water as you can manage, break open the egg quickly and slide it into the water. Set a kitchen timer for 4 minutes and quickly repeat with the remaining eggs.
Increase the heat slightly if you need to in order to keep the water simmering, and when the 4 minutes is up, remove the eggs with the slotted spoon, one at a time, in the order you dropped them into the water – depending on how quickly you got them into the water, you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds between each egg – and place them in a large bowl of hot water. This will help keep them warm as well as remove the taste of the vinegar.
Plate the dish: Place 1/6 of the spinach in the center of a warmed plate. Top it with a slice of tomato, a slice of the smoked salmon and one poached egg. Cover with about ¼ cup of the hollandaise sauce and crumble a slice of bacon over the top. Serve immediately.
Posted in participation with Hartke Is Online’s Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival