2000s Recipes + Menus

Deep-Fried Poached Eggs with Creamed Spinach and Serrano Ham

  • Active Time:1 hr
  • Start to Finish:1 hr
December 2006
A crisp bread coating and savory serrano ham put a new spin on Eggs Florentine.
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from firm white bread)
  • 4 poached large eggs
  • 3 oz thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 7 to 8 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1/4 teaspoon water
  • Special equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer
  • Whisk together cream and 2 teaspoons flour in a small bowl until just combined.
  • Cook shallot in butter in a 9- to 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until shallot is softened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until excess liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir cream mixture, then add to spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until cream is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Stir together bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Spread remaining 1/2 cup flour on a plate and set aside for dredging.
  • Gently blot any water from top of poached eggs with paper towels, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  • Carefully dredge 1 poached egg in flour, dusting off excess. Transfer to beaten egg, spooning to coat completely, then transfer with a slotted spoon to bread crumbs, letting excess egg drip off. Coat with crumbs and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining poached eggs, 1 at a time.
  • Cut sliced ham crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
  • Heat 1 1/2 inches oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan (about 1 1/2 inches deep) over high heat until deep-fat thermometer registers 375°F. Fry ham in oil, stirring occasionally with a clean slotted spoon to separate strips, until crisp, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer ham to paper towels to drain.
  • Return frying oil to 375°F.
  • Lower 2 eggs (1 at a time on slotted spoon) into hot oil and fry until golden brown, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer fried eggs to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs.
  • Reheat spinach over low heat, stirring constantly and adding more cream or water to loosen mixture if necessary, about 1 minute.
  • Divide creamed spinach among 4 plates, then top with poached eggs and ham.
Cooks’ note: The eggs in this recipe will not be fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area.
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