Garden District Eggs
- 4 large artichokes, stems trimmed
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, medium diced
- 2 celery stalks, medium diced
- 1 small leek (white part only), medium diced
- 1 1/2 cups cleaned and chopped assorted wild mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon minced assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, and tarragon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 3/4 cup cubed stale French bread
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and dried, stems removed and large leaves torn
- 2 tablespoons white wine (a buttery Chardonnay works well)
- 1/2 cup freshly made fine bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped tasso ham
- 2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning, recipe follows
- 8 poached eggs, recipe follows
- 1 cup Hollandaise Sauce, recipe follows
- Minced fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- Poached Eggs:
- 2 quarts water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 8 fresh medium eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Hollandaise Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 6 medium egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 cups warm clarified butter, see note
- 3 dashes hot sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the artichokes upside down in a large steaming basket set in a large pot over 2 inches of water and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate, and steam the artichokes until they're tender when pierced with a knife, or until the large leaves pull off easily, about 25 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking, and transfer to a platter. When cool enough to handle, remove the artichoke leaves. Using a small spoon, scrape out and discard the hairy chokes. Cut each artichoke bottom into eighths.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat until hot but not smoking. Add 2 tablespoons butter and melt. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until golden. Add onion, celery, leek, and mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked through. Add artichoke pieces and herbs and cook for 30 seconds, or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add brandy (it will flame) and cook for 30 seconds, or until flame dies. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cool, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir the bread and egg into chilled mushroom mixture.
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 teaspoon butter and melt. Add shallot and cook for 30 seconds, or until golden. Add spinach and cook for about 3 minutes, or until spinach is tender. Carefully add wine (it will flame) and cook for 30 seconds, or until flame dies. Season with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside and keep warm.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat until hot. Add the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add cakes and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden and heated through. Drain on paper towels.
Stir tasso ham and Creole seasoning into hollandaise.Poached Eggs:
Combine the water and vinegar in a large, shallow pot, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. One at a time, break each egg into an individual cup, being careful not to break the yolks. Gently slide the eggs into the simmering water and let cook 3 to 4 minutes. A poached egg should be soft and have an egg shape to it. If it is hard, it is overcooked.
If you want to hold eggs for later service, plunge them into ice water to halt the cooking process.
To reheat eggs, season water with salt and pepper over medium heat and bring almost to a simmer. Place the eggs in the water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until hot. Remove, gently pat dry with a towel, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe courtesy Ti Martin and Jamie Shannon, From Commander's Kitchen, Broadway Books 2000.Hollandaise Sauce:
Place 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the hot water in a stainless-steel bowl or in the top half of a double boiler set over simmering water. Add the egg yolks, and whisk until the eggs thicken and triple in volume, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low, add the mustard, and slowly drizzle in the clarified butter, constantly whipping as you add the ingredients. If the sauce seems to thicken and looks ready to break, add the remaining lemon juice; it may not be needed. Keep whisking in the butter until all is incorporated. Add the hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Keep in a warm place until ready to use. Use as directed in recipes using hollandaise.
Note: Clarified butter has no milk solids or water and therefore makes the sauce less likely to break. To get this amount of clarified butter, melt about 1 pound of butter in a pot. It will separate. Skim away the foam or solids. The golden liquid remaining is the clarified butter. Pour it off, and discard the water in the bottom of the pan.
Yield: about 2 cups
Recipe courtesy Ti Martin and Jamie Shannon, From Commander's Kitchen, Broadway Books 2000.
Recipe courtesy Tory McPhail