Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eggs Florentine

Classic Eggs Florentine - pouched eggs, rested on a creamy spinach and topped with melted cheese and breadcrumbs. Easy to follow directions are below, accurately copied from my authentic Italian cuisine cookbook.

Blog's Category: International, Perfect Breakfast, Vegetarian


Sometimes the name of a dish is sufficient enough to start craving it. Isn't it? At list it is the case with me when I hear "Egg Florentine". Strangely enough, I didn't lay my hand on this old Italian classic just until recently. And yes, it was scrumptious. I wanted to prepare the most authentic version as I could, so I found the recipe in my favorite cookbook for Italian cuisine "....". Next time I may modify the recipe just for a sake of it to be lighter in calories. Otherwise I was very happy with a recipe and can totally recommend it for you.

What is it?

Step one - cook creamy spinach (spinach and cream).
Step two - cook bechamel sauce with parmesan (milk, flour, butter and parmesan).
Step three - pouch eggs.
Step four - layer up all you made in a previous steps, plus breadcrumbs on top, and pop it in a over for a moment to melt a cheese.

Taste Description

Creamy, creamy, creamy - because of spinach, cream, runny yolk and cheese... Rich and light at the same time. Some crunch from a breadcrumbs and mellow punch from the black peppercorn - this gourmet breakfast is a pure delight!

How to Serve/Store

Serve it right away, with a piece of baguette or your favorite bread just to help you out with all that creaminess of real Egg Florentine ;)

Eggs Florentine 

  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 4 + 1 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups of coarsely grated parmesan 
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1.5 c milk
  • 6 eggs
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 tbs white breadcrumbs
  • salt and black pepper to taste 
- In a shallow pan, place spinach with a splash of water and cook it, turning over couple time for about 3 minutes just until it's wilted. Transfer to chopping board, chop it coarsely and return back to a skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, some salt, pepper and heavy cream and cook, stirring, for a couple minutes just until creamy. Set aside.

- In another skillet, cook bechamel sauce: melt 4 tablespoons of butter, add flour and cook it stirring on a medium heat until it starts to change color to darker beige. Add milk. Using whisk, stir nicely. Add more milk if needed - it has to be creamy but still runny consistency. Add 1 cup of parmesan, stir until smooth, set aside.

- Distribute spinach among individual oven-proof plates or ramekins.

- In a shallow pan, bring water to a boil. Carefully break eggs into the water. Pay attention to the order when you break each egg. Try to keep water consistently simmering, turning heat up and down when it needed. After a minute or too, push lightly on a first egg you threw in a water - you will feel when whites are set and yolk is still liquid. Using flat slotted spoon or turner, take eggs out in the same order you place them for pouching. Rest the spoon with an egg for a second on a folded paper towel to absorb the excess of water, and place an egg on a top of spinach in a prepared individual plates. Quickly do the same to the remaining eggs.

- Pour sauce on a top of eggs. Top with a remaining cheese and sprinkle with a breadcrumbs. 

- Place in an oven under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese. 

- Enjoy!


- Read my comments under the pictures below for some tips. 



Don't wash spinach or other herbs under the running water. Always wash spinach or herbs by placing them in a large bowl with a water. Toss it lightly in a water and remove with your hands on a paper towel (straight on a skillet in our case with spinach). All impurities will fall on bottom of a bowl.

In no time big pile of spinach will fall down - just keep flipping it on a hot pan. Adding some water will speed up a process even more.


Let's start on bechamel

Too bad I didn't have milk.. so I used hot water with a small chicken stock cube and a splash of heavy cream instead. 

Stirring sauce with a whisk, you'll get your sauce very smooth and silky.

A little bit salt, pepper and nutmeg and it's done!

You can transfer your sauce into sauce pot with a spout - it will be more convenient to pour it later.

Don't let water to boil too much. Lousy boiling is perfect here (though on this picture it looks like strong one but it's not). If you never pouched eggs, cook them in a batches of two just to avoid stress of god-forbid-to-overcook-em :) You've got to have runny yolk inside! Your finger here is the best tool - use touch-test just be careful not to burn yourself.

aren't these beautiful?

..pour sauce on top...

..some cheese and breadcrumbs.. FYI - the best crumbs are homemade. Breadcrumbs I used were those for coating for frying. It would be better though to use, if not homemade, than any kinds of store-bought croutons, crushed.

Final plate.. yum!

where is my crusty bread? it's a shame I didn't have it at a moment :(

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pan-fried Potato with Chanterelle

Suddenly, you realize that there is nothing more satisfying than steaming pan of fried potato with onion and mushrooms, just taken off a stove.

Blog's Category: International, My Staple Food, USSR-era Recipes, Vegetarian


What we do here, in States, when there is nothing to eat at home? We order pizza. What we did when we lived in Ukraine? We pan-fried potato (everyone had potato stocked up in a pantry)! If, by the chance, you happened to have a piece of bacon or handful of wild mushrooms picked up on your way home at tiny street market by your bus stop, then you were all set for a hearty delicious meal. 

When I lived in Kiev, on my way back from a work, at Petrovka metro station, when I walked to a bus stop, there were some elderly woman, man from nearby villages selling all sorts of produce they grew by themselves or harvested in surrounding forests - wild mushrooms, herbs, cucumbers, cabbage, fresh eggs, etc. Every time I saw chanterelle mushrooms there, I couldn't resist and grabbed some to make one of my favorite quick fixes - fried potato with chanterelle mushrooms. Actually, in Ukraine, we called chanterelles "lisichki" which literally means "a little fox". Aren't they look like ones, indeed?

Now, you, probably, will understand my excitement when recently, at my local farmer's market, I spotted nice looking chanterelle mushrooms. Even $19 per pound didn't scare me away! I wanted my kids to try something I loved in my "previous" life ;)

I cooked it, my potato with chanterelles were lovely, but... is it me changed or those farmed chanterelles have forgotten their aroma when they were growing in a wild - I didn't get that very unique fragrance of chanterelles I remember from my childhood. Nevertheless, kids loved it and I'm sure, I'll be cooking it again but next time I'll take shitake or oyster mushrooms as they are very similar in texture and might even have stronger flavor than those pricey farmed chanterelles.

What is it?

It is simply potato fried with onion and chanterrele mushrooms! Easy, and so delicious.

Taste Description

Tender, sometimes crispy, pieces of potato, are delightful. Especially when forked all together with a fried mushroom and onion. A little bit of black pepper gives a right level of kick. 

How to Serve/Store

Serve it hot or warm, with a pickles on a side. Leftovers will keep in a fridge for a few days.

Pan-fried Potato with Chanterelle 

  • 2 handfuls of chanterelle mushrooms (or shitake, or oyster mushrooms), chopped
  • potatoes, peeled and sliced in matchsticks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • salt and black pepper to taste 
- Preheat large frying pan with olive oil. Cook sliced potato, on a medium heat, for about 10-15 minutes, turning it over occasionally, just until it starts to become light-gold.

- Add onion, chanterelles and salt, and continue to cook uncovered, flipping occasionally, until potato gets nice golden-brown patches here and there and potato almost cooked through.

- Add pepper, turn over carefully, place pieces of butter on top, cover with a lid and let it sweat on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes just until the lightest (in color) piece of potato is nice, tender and completely cooked through. 

- Done! Enjoy!


- Make sure potato is completely soft and cooked through.

- As an option, add chopped green onion or parsley at the very end of cooking process. It will give it a nice freshness.

- Be generous with an olive oil. Add some more if you feel so ;)