The term "Florentine" in a recipe title indicates that the dish uses spinach. This updated version of the classic eggs Florentine uses a sauce thickened with cornflour rather than a butter and flour roux. Serve with wholemeal toast.
15 g reduced-salt margarine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
200 g small leeks, thinly sliced
800 g baby spinach leaves
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon vinegar
paprika to garnish
2 tablespoons cornflour
300 ml low-fat milk
50 g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
pepper to taste
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To make the cheese sauce, mix the cornflour to a paste with a little milk. Pour the remaining milk into a nonstick saucepan and bring to the boil.
Stir the boiling milk into the cornflour mixture, then pour back into the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring. Once it has thickened, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, and season with nutmeg and pepper. Cover the surface of the sauce with greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming and set aside in a warm place.
Heat the margarine with the oil in a saucepan. Add the leeks and cook for about 3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the spinach and stir. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the leeks are tender.
Drain the vegetables in a sieve, pressing down with the back of a spoon to remove any excess moisture. Return to the pan and season with pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, half-fill a large frying pan with water and bring to simmering point. Add the vinegar. Break in the eggs, and cook gently for 3–4 minutes, spooning the hot water over the yolks. Lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Preheat the grill to high. Spread the leek and spinach mixture in an even layer in a large flameproof dish. Make 4 hollows in the vegetables using the back of a spoon and place a poached egg in each hollow. Spoon the cheese sauce over the eggs. Lightly dust with paprika, then place the dish under the grill. Cook for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned. Serve at once.
• Spinach is a good source of nutrients with antioxidant properties, including vitamins C and E and carotenoid compounds. • Leeks belong to the onion family. They provide vitamin E, and the green part of the leek is a good source of beta carotene.