Dish of the Week: Eggs Sardou
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.
This week, we’re covering a New Orleans staple, Eggs Sardou.
We’re sure you’ve heard of Eggs Benedict. Well, consider Eggs Sardou, Benedict's Creole cousin. The incredibly rich dish is made with poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach and Hollandaise sauce – a creamy emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter.
Named after 19th-century French dramatist Victorien Sardou, the dish was invented at the classic French Quarter restaurant Antoine’s when Sardou was visiting. Antoine’s, by the way, is also famous for inventing oysters Rockefeller (but that’s a story for another day).
The famed restaurant incorporates truffles, ham and anchovies into the dish; however, different variations of eggs Sardou can be found on restaurant menus all over the Crescent City. And in true Creole style, it’s often accompanied with Gulf shrimp and grits.
To make it, béchamel-smothered spinach is splashed with hot sauce, artichoke bottoms are warmed and topped with poached eggs, and the entire thing is drizzled with a velvety Hollandaise.
This recipe, slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse, incorporates thinly sliced prosciutto or Serrano ham. We suggest adding cream to the spinach to make it just as over-the-top decadent as the original.
Ingredients yields 4 appetizer portions or 2 brunch portions
For the spinach:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
1½ cups whole milk
1 lb fresh spinach leaves
Dash hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 tsp water
1/2 cup clarified butter, or 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the eggs/artichokes:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 whole artichoke hearts, boiled until tender, trimmed of choke, and leaves discarded or reserved for another use
Salt and pepper
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 ounces prosciutto or Serrano ham, cut into thin chiffonade
Paprika or Creole seasoning, for garnish
Chopped chives, garnish
Make the spinach: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 1-2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light brown and toasted, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk until no lumps remain. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and simmer until thick and creamy, about 15-20 minutes. Add a dash of hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Hollandaise: In the top of a double boiler or in a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks with the water until the egg yolks are thick and pale yellow, removing from the heat as needed to prevent the eggs from overcooking. Gradually add the butter, whisking constantly to thicken. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well to blend. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve, stirring occasionally. Yields 1 cup (use as much as desired).
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichoke hearts and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until just warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Into a large sauté pan or deep skillet, pour about 2 inches of cold water and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat so that the surface of the water barely shimmers.
Break the eggs into individual saucers, then gently slide them 1 at a time into the water and with a large spoon, lift the whites over the yolks. Repeat the lifting once or twice to completely enclose each yolk. Poach until the whites are set and the yolks feel soft when gently touched, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, and place on a large plate.
Arrange the warm artichoke hearts on each of 4 plates and top with the creamed spinach. Lay 1 egg on top of each bed of spinach and drizzle with warm Hollandaise sauce. Garnish with the chopped prosciutto, paprika or Creole seasoning, and chives. Serve immediately.
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