For a special breakfast or brunch in my house we like Eggs Florentine. This is a twist on the usual ham and poached egg combo in Eggs Benedict. It includes the addition of cooked spinach and uses a cheese sauce instead of the rich buttery hollandaise sauce that some people love. I prefer the cheese sauce but I make both on an infrequent basis.
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White Sauce vs Cheese Sauce vs Mornay Sauce
Cheese sauce always starts with a basic white sauce, the same as if you were making Mac and Cheese. It is simply melted butter with cornstarch to thicken, then add milk. It’s pretty simple.
KITCHEN TIP – I wrote this recipe for white sauce on the outside of my cornstarch container decades ago and still glance at it just to make sure.
Add cheddar to it and you have cheese sauce for Mac and Cheese. For the Eggs Florentine add Gruyère cheese and then the cheese sauce is called Mornay sauce, but you can call it cheese sauce.
Perfect Poached Eggs
My husband is more of an egg poaching expert than I am. But I will say we have owned every one of these devices to poach eggs and I do not have a favourite. I think you just need to figure out what works for you and go with that.
- –Traditional stove top 6-egg poacher
- –Individual silicone egg poaching cups
- –Microwave 2-egg poacher
- –Non-silicone egg poaching rings (maybe I should try the silicone ones)
I have also tried the method of tying individual eggs in clear wrap and poaching them in a pot of water. It’s a bit tedious but all methods give you poached eggs.
Organize For Success – Eggs Florentine
Organization is the key to serving any dish like that involves several steps. Simply making the same recipe three times, even within six weeks, is super helpful. This seems to create some memory of the steps and the timing and I think that little effort turns any recipe into one you can pull off with ease.
Store bought English muffins are perfect but when I made this dish I used my basic cornbread recipe. Cooked in a larger pan I got the thickness I wanted and just cut them into rounds with a clean tin can (from canned tuna).
Start by making the cheese sauce since it can be made in advance. I portion the ham and spinach then leave it at room temperature. Since hot cheese sauce goes on top of hot eggs that warms up the spinach and the ham. Then the whole thing goes under the broiler with a little Parmesan cheese and the finished dish should be piping hot to enjoy.
When you serve Eggs Florentine with fresh squeezed orange juice, or maybe Prosecco Berry Sangria, it’s a decadent brunch. But once you’ve mastered the steps you can also enjoy it as a weekend treat whenever you want. Let me know in the comments below if you noticed that just making the recipe three times changes it from challenging to easy.
More Breakfast Recipes
|gluten free corn bread, cut into 6-8 rounds|
|6-8 pieces of gluten free ham or Canadian back bacon|
|10 oz fresh spinach, cooked and the moisture squeezed out of it|
|6-8 eggs, poached|
|2 Tbsp butter|
|1 Tbsp cornstarch|
|¼ tsp salt|
|⅛ tsp pepper|
|1 cup milk (1% or 2%)|
|1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese|
|2 Tbsp parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top|
- CORNBREAD - Bake cornbread in advance. Cut into rounds. Set aside.
- MORNAY SAUCE - Melt butter. Sprinkle cornstarch over butter and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened.
- Pour milk in and cook stirring frequently until smooth and thickened.
- Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Set aside.
- ASSEMBLY - Cook spinach then drain and squeeze to remove all the excess moisture. Set aside.
- Saute ham. Set aside.
- Poach eggs.
- Preheat broiler.
- Place cornbread rounds on a baking sheet. Top with ham and then spinach. Place poached egg on top of each round. Pour a generous spoonful of Mornay sauce on each egg. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Place under the broiler just until the cheese has browned. Serve.