Baked Eggs Florentine with Pecorino Crema

eggs florentine

Eggs Florentine is the perfect weekend breakfast or brunch, it’s elegant, so delicious, simple to make with just a few ingredients. If you do a search you’ll find many different variations of this dish, I even put a little Italian spin on mine.

One thing that’s certain about Eggs Florentine is that spinach is the star ingredient, in fact the term Florentine will always indicate that the dish uses spinach.spinach and creama

I had a one pound bag of baby spinach and a container of spreadable Crema di Pecorino Romano that a friend gave me to try, she was curious about it and thought I’d like to try it, which I did.

 

I’ve actually seen it before at my Italian market in the cheese department but never picked one up. It has the consistency of a softened cream cheese flavored with Pecorino Romano.eggs florentine

Since Eggs Florentine generally has a cream sauce that’s mixed in with the spinach, I thought this crema would be perfect, but you could also achieve the same flavors and texture by reducing some cream and adding grated Pecorino, or parmesan cheese for that matter, either would work well.eggs florentine

The eggs lay on a base of homemade marinara which is already flavored with garlic, onions and herbs, you can also substitute a good store bought brand just as long as it’s flavored nicely, so because of that you really don’t have to do anything to flavor the spinach other than wilting it down with a knob of butter and then tossing it into the creamy Pecorino to get it nicely coated.

eggs florentine

I like to use a rectangle baking dish when making this because you’ll be able to cut out a perfect square portion per person.
eggs florentineeggs florentineeggs florentine

Add a little crusty bread on the side if you like and you’re good to go. Make this for breakfast or brunch on your next slow weekend, you’ll love every bite!

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Baked Eggs Florentine with Pecorino Crema
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. bag of baby spinach
  • butter
  • 5 oz. container of Crema di Pecorino, warmed and melted down with a splash of cream to loosen it, or make your own by reducing some heavy cream or half and half with a couple tablespoons of grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese until it thickens up, ending up with 5 ounces.
  • Marinara, homemade or store bought, flavored with garlic and herbs, just enough to coat the bottom of the baking dish.
  • 6 large eggs
Instructions
  1. I used a 8x11 rectangle baking dish which perfectly fit 6 eggs and all of the spinach that was wilted down.
  2. Spoon marinara onto the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Start wilting down your spinach, I did it in 3 batches for that amount, placing a knob of butter in a large skillet and tossing it until it wilts, which only takes a few minutes, then set aside.
  4. Drain the spinach in a fine strainer if alot of moisture forms.
  5. Create your cheese sauce either way then toss your wilted spinach into it, saving a little of the sauce to spoon on top when finished.
  6. Spread the creamed spinach on top of the marinara in the baking dish, making 6 indentions for the eggs.
  7. Crack each egg one by one into a separate bowl and let it fall into each spinach indention.
  8. Season with pepper, no need to add salt because the Pecorino is salty enough.
  9. Bake in a 350F oven at least 20 minutes or more or until the white of the egg firms up and is not jiggly.
  10. Remove and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it, if you have some leftover crema, you can spoon some on top of each portion.
  11. Enjoy!

 

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Citrus Fruit Ideas to Brighten the Winter Blues

citrus caprese

It’s the beginning of a new year and as I look forward to spring I must admit one of the things I do like about winter is all the beautiful citrus that is available. Maybe it’s the way it makes you feel after over indulging during the holidays, it’s fresh, bright and very healthy for you, and who doesn’t need a good dose of vitamin C during these cold winter days.citrus

Every time I go food shopping I fill my cart with orange citrus, my three favorite varieties are navel, Cara Cara and blood oranges, each have a unique and special flavor on their own and I love to mingle them together.citrus caprese

While I patiently wait for my summer tomato caprese salad, this winter caprese has become my cold weather favorite.

You don’t need a recipe, just layer your favorite sliced oranges with fresh mozzarella, just like you would a tomato caprese. Lay it all on a bed of arugula with an optional sliced red onion ring in between.

 

The dressing is simply fresh squeezed orange citrus juice that is whisked with good olive oil, ( you could add a little white balsamic or champagne vinegar to the mix if you wish) the bitterness of the arugula against the sweetness of the orange and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella is the perfect combination, especially when the dressing mingles all over it.citrus slicescitrus and fennelcitrus salad

I’ve been making a few other citrus salads as well, one has sliced oranges with fennel, red onion, creamy avocado, a little bit of arugula and toasted hazelnuts.

 

The other one is a huge bunch of arugula, orange slices and toasted hazelnuts, I love the bitter with the sweet. Both are simple to put together and they compliment any protein you might be eating, I especially love it with fish and seafood.citrus with crab cakes

On New Years Day I made this salad along with crab cakes, they complimented each other perfectly with the richness of the crab and the brightness of the citrus.citrus salsa

Citrus in the form of salsa is outrageously good, make it like you would any other salsa only with various varieties of orange segments, chopped jalapeno, cilantro or parsley, red onion and a drizzle of olive oil.

citrus salsa

The salsa’s are wonderful to top off scallops, shrimp, salmon, whitefish, basically any fish, plus it’s light and healthy something we all need after the holidays.citrus with cod

Here’s a one pan meal that is so delicious and it will surely brighten a cold winter day, my baked cod with blood orange, fennel and olives.
citrus with cod

Citrus fruits are not only refreshing they actually make you feel better, there must be a reason why these sunny fruits are available during the darkest time of the year. How many more days til spring?

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Italian Seafood Salad

seafood salad

Seafood salad is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, actually as far back as I can remember this salad was always the first course to a massive Christmas Eve spread, it wasn’t often that we had lobster as kids so this salad was extra special to us and one we looked forward to having. Those flavors and memories have stayed with me my whole life and I love continuing the tradition in my own family.

 

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to wait until Christmas Eve to make this amazing salad, actually any special occasion will do, it’s perfect for entertaining as well as having it for a delicious light meal on a hot summer day. Just pick and choose your favorite seafood and put it together,  it’s easier than you think!assorted seafood

For my salad this year I chose bay scallops, calamari, lobster, and two different types of shrimp which have distinctly different tastes. Many Italian families add octopus, baccala, (salt cod) mussels, clams and scungilli or conch, but this is my favorite mix and one that all my guests love, but again you can make it your own with your favorites.

 

To save time I always get cleaned calamari and peeled and deveined shrimp it makes the process go quick and easy and a little more enjoyable.poached seafood

You’re going to poach all the seafood one at a time in an infused poaching liquid and it’s not going to take very long, just a minute or two. I like to use a spider strainer so I can remove the seafood really fast then directly stick it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, when cooled down place the seafood on paper towels to soak up the excess water.seafood salad

The simple bright and fresh lemon and olive oil dressing is what brings all the components together harmoniously.seafood salad

When tossed together you want those flavors to marinate for at least a few hours but even better overnight, just pull it from the fridge and let it warm up a bit before serving.

This salad will become your go to special occasion salad and your guests will go crazy over it. This will grace my table this Christmas Eve and throughout the year.

Wishing all my Dear Readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday!

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Italian Seafood Salad
 
You can choose any seafood combination you wish, the amounts really don't matter, just adjust the veggies and dressing to accommodate
Author:
Ingredients
  • This is my seafood combination which made a big platter full.
  • 1 lb. bay scallops
  • 1 lb. shrimp, some whole, some sliced horizontally for a nice presentation, make sure tails are pulled off
  • 1 lb. calamari with tubes and tentacles, tubes sliced into ½ in, strips
  • 2 small lobster tails, removed from the shell
  • 2 fennel bulbs sliced thin
  • ½ large red onion, diced small
  • 3 whole celery stalks with leaves, chopped in small slices
  • a big handful of pimento stuffed green olives, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • lemon slices from one lemon
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • chopped parsley
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • POACHING LIQUID
  • water in a medium stock pot, a good splash of white wine, 2 bay leaves, 1 of the 4 cloves of crushed garlic, salt, pepper and 3 lemon slices.
Instructions
  1. Prepare poaching liquid, get it to a boil then place seafood in one at a time. Bay scallops about 2 minutes, taste one to make sure, calamari, one or two minutes, shrimp until they turn pink and the lobster three to five minutes depending on the size, it will turn pink and curl up.
  2. Use a spider strainer to take them out of the liquid then place directly into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, you want all your seafood to be tender and not overcooked.
  3. Drain onto a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  4. When seafood is all cooked, chop up all your veggies and place into a big bowl, along with the olives.
  5. Add the prepared seafood into the large bowl.
  6. Add the three remaining garlic cloves and toss gently.
  7. MIX UP YOUR DRESSING;
  8. Half lemon juice to half olive oil with a squeeze of dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Whisk it up until it's nicely incorporated.
  10. Drizzle over your salad coating all the seafood and tossing so the garlic and veggies get incorporated.
  11. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, taste for seasoning.
  12. Spoon it into a pretty platter, add some lemon slices, more parsley and a drizzle of olive oil all over.
  13. Cover and let it sit in fridge for at least a few hours or overnight, let it warm up a bit before serving, but don't serve at room temp it needs to be cold.

 

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