Meatless Monday: Baked Eggs Florentine

This is debatable, but I think eggs fit in the vegetarian diet. And this dish from America's Test Kitchen is an easy way to get a lot of protein in your day, carnivore or not. And they look so cute!

Photo courtesy America's Test KitchenBaked Eggs Florentine
Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup half-and-half
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
Salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil spray
6 large eggs

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly. Simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in spinach, Parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne.

Lightly spray six 6-ounce ramekins with oil spray. Evenly divide spinach filling among ramekins. Using back of spoon, push filling 1 inch up sides of ramekins to create 1/8-inch-thick layer. Shape remaining filling in bottom of ramekin into 1 1/2-inch diameter mound, making shallow indentation in center of mound large enough to hold yolk. Place filled ramekins in 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Bake until filling just starts to brown, about 7 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking.

While filling is heating, crack eggs (taking care not to break yolks) into individual cups or bowls. Remove baking dish with ramekins from oven and place on wire rack. Gently pour eggs from cups into hot ramekins, centering yolk in filling. Lightly spray surface of each egg with oil spray and sprinkle each evenly with pinch salt. Return baking dish to oven and bake until whites are just opaque but still tremble (carryover heat will cook whites through), 6 to 8 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking.

Remove dish from oven and, using tongs, transfer ramekins to wire rack. Let stand until whites are firm and set (yolks should still be runny), about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Follow recipe through step 3, skipping baking of lined ramekins. Wrap ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve, remove plastic and heat lined ramekins, directly from refrigerator, for additional 3 to 4 minutes (10 to 11 minutes total) before proceeding with recipe.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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