I often google recipes when I am looking for inspiration or information, usually just a starting point which I can develop on. Although there are a hell of a lot of bad recipes out there, I can usually rely on BBC food or Jamie Oliver or All Recipes UK to come up with a reasonable example of what I am looking for. However, I was really shocked that nothing even half decent comes up when you google Hollandaise. All sorts of shocking suggestions – un-reduced vinegar, all sorts of weird flavourings, tarragon in a Gordon Ramsey recipe – that’s Béarnaise mate! and even mustard in a Jamie Oliver recipe – got his hollandaise mixed up with his mayonnaise. Scary!
This recipe is not entirely authentic however, apart from the hollandaise, as it replaces the spinach “Florentine” with chard. I am not sure why the food of Florence should necessarily be associated with spinach but apparently it has something to do with Catherine di Medici. Anyway, I was rather pleased with my variation, it makes a great brunch and if you are feeling particularly adventurous you could add an anchovy or two to the chard when it is braising.
Egg Florentine ( with Chard)
For the hollandaise sauce
½ an onion, very finely chopped
50mls white wine vinegar plus a splash for poaching the eggs
125g good quality butter, cut into cubes
2 free-range egg yolks
Squeeze of lemon
For the eggs Florentine
2 English muffins, split in half horizontally
2 large handfuls chard
4 very fresh free-range eggs
Put two saucepans with water on to boil. Remove the chard stalks from the leaves and add the leaves to one pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a dry tea towel to cool. Turn the heat of the saucepan right down low. When the chard is cool use the tea towel to squeeze out as much water as possible. Cut the garlic into very thin slithers. Heat a little more olive oil in another saucepan and fry the garlic until just turning light golden brown. Add the Chard and season with salt and mix well. Fry briefly and remove from the heat.
For the Hollandaise sauce, melt the butter slowly over a gentle heat or in a microwave. Once melted, remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, very finely chop half an onion, add the vinegar and simmer until almost dry. You want one teaspoon of liquid to remain only. Sieve the onions and add the teaspoon on reduced vinegar to the egg yolks into a bowl. Place this over the gently simmering water from the chard and beat until just cooked. Gradually add the butter, very slowly. Add the clarified butter on the top first and only add the whey at the end if you need to thin the sauce. Add salt to taste and a little lemon juice. Turn the light off under the chard water and leave the bowl on top to keep warm.
Split the muffins and toast. Add a dash of white wine vinegar to the other pan and at a gentle rolling boil, carefully crack in your eggs. Cook until your liking and remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.
Arrange the muffins halves on a plate, top with plenty of chard, then place a poached egg on top of each and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the top. Serve straight away.