Florentine eggs

Florentine eggs

In the late summer and autumn months my daughter’s vegetable garden is invaded by spinach. I cannot bear to see it going to waste so my diet consists of anything with spinach in it or just spinach steamed and generously dressed with my best extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

This is a quick alternative to the usual pasta when one of the grandchildren drops in for supper. I send her out to pick the spinach and I can produce this healthy dish in the same time it takes to make a bowl of pasta. For serving, I fry 4 slices of bread and place the spinachy eggs on top of them. A complete and nourishing meal.

For how many? Serves 4


  • 1 kg spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • pinch or 2 of grated nutmeg
  • 50g Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • 4 organic eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Pick over the spinach leaves and discard the tougher stems. Wash them in plenty of cold water and put them straight into a large cooking pot without draining – the water that clings to them is quite enough to cook them in. Put the pot on a high heat and cook, uncovered, until the spinach is tender, about 2 or 3 minutes, turning it over 3 or 4 times. Drain and, wearing a pair of rubber gloves, squeeze out all the water.

Now I call Coco for the part she likes. Cut the spinach roughly into strips. Put the oil and half the butter with the garlic into a frying pan and, when hot, add the spinach and fry for 4–5 minutes, turning it over often. 

Take the pan off the heat and mix in the nutmeg, cheese and salt and pepper. Now it is time to taste. Butter a shallow oven dish and spoon the spinach into it, spreading it to cover the whole dish. Make 4 hollows in the spinach with the back of a large metal spoon and break the eggs into these green nests. Put a knob of the remaining butter over each yolk and then place the dish in the hot oven. Bake for 8–9 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. 

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