Greens, Eggs and Hollandaise
Greens and eggs:
- 1ÂĽ pounds (570 grams) mixed greens (chard and spinach make a nice mix, or any greens you prefer), heavy stems removed, leaves cut into ÂĽ-inch ribbons
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, plus more for the egg cups
- Â˝ small onion, or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) half-and-half or heavy cream
- 8 large eggs
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams or 1ÂĽ sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Dash of hot sauce (optional)
- 4 English muffins, split and sliced into 1-inch â€śfingers,â€ť for serving
It turns out that hollandaise, which was once the bane of the cooking studentâ€™s sauce series, can be whirled up in a blender in less than 5 minutes, and it tastes like buttery, buttery perfection.
- Wash your greens, but no need to dry themâ€”just place them in a large pot over high heat. Cook with just the water clinging to the leaves, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted. If you use mixed greens, first add those that cook more slowlyâ€”about 2 minutes for baby spinach, 3 to 4 minutes for grown-up spinach, 6 minutes for chard, and a bit longer for heavier greens.
- Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth (my favorite method), putting the greens in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula or large spoon, or letting them cool long enough so you can grab small handfuls and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible.
- Cut the butter into small bits. Melt it gently in a small saucepan or a small bowl in the microwave until three-quarters melted. Remove the butter from heat, and stir until the remaining pieces dissolve; this ensures that your melted butter doesnâ€™t get too hot and lose moisture.
- In a blender, combine the yolks, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a dash of hot sauce, if youâ€™re using it. Blend at high speed until the sauce is pale yellow and smooth, for about 30 seconds. Open the pour spout on the lid, run the motor of the blender, and drizzle in the butter a few drops at a time, then a spoonful at a time, and finally in a long, thin stream, until all of it is added. The sauce should have thickened quickly. Taste for seasoning. If necessary, you can thin the sauce with water or additional lemon juice. Add more salt if needed. Transfer hollandaise to a serving dish, which you can keep warm by setting it in a larger dish of warm water, to keep it loose and warm while you prepare the eggs.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wipe a large skillet dry, then melt the butter in it, over moderate heat. Cook the onion and garlic in butter over moderately low heat until they are softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in greens, and season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg. Raise the heat, and drizzle cream over the greens; cook them with the cream for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Butter four (for larger portions) or eight (for smaller portions) ramekins and arrange them on a baking sheet. Distribute the greens evenly among ramekins. Break two eggs each into four ramekins, or one each into eight ramekins. Bake single-egg ramekins for 10 to 15 minutes, or until egg whites are set and yolks are not. The double-egg ramekins will take 15 to 18 minutes.
- Arrange English-muffin â€śfingersâ€ť in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven while the eggs bake.
- Generously dollop each egg dish with hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately, with English-muffin toast soldiers.