A breakfast fit for Mardi Gras
First served at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans, eggs Sardou is named for the French playwright Victorien Sardou. Eggs Sardou, which is now a popular brunch offering at many New Orleans restaurants, is essentially an eggs Benedict-slash-eggs Florentine hybrid with a few extras. While there’s no English muffin underneath eggs Sardou, spinach is creamed in a béchamel sauce of sorts (don't be deterred by the French word, béchamel is just another way to say white sauce made with butter, flour, and milk) and topped with tender artichoke hearts. And that’s way more fun than Florentine’s plain steamed spinach.
Eggs Sardou has a few moving parts, but as long as you think everything through you’ll have no trouble.
First, make a batch of creamed spinach: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a wide skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons all purpose flour and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Whisk furiously, until the mixture is bubbling and brown but not burnt (if it burns, start again). Slowly whisk in 1 cup of whole milk and ¼ cup half and half. When the mixture is smooth, toss in 6 cups chopped fresh spinach and let the heat wilt the leaves. Turn the heat to low and simmer the mixture for for 10-15 minutes. Next, whisk in ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and lots of fresh black pepper. Place a lid over the spinach and keep the heat on very low until you’re ready to prepare the plates.
Next up are the poached eggs, so place a pot of water on to boil, or ready a bowl for the microwave. Poach the eggs in your preferred manner, and set the eggs on a paper towel to dry. To reheat the eggs before serving, drop the cooked eggs back into simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Finally, make a batch of hollandaise sauce from your favorite recipe, or try our blender version if you want to avoid whisking and save your next arm workout for the gym. Reheat the sauce by whisking it in a double boiler, in a heat-safe bowl placed over a pot of simmering water.
To serve, drop a scoop of creamed spinach on a plate, then place 2 cooked artichoke halves (warmed in the oven if you like) over the spinach. Add 1 or 2 poached eggs to the plate, then cover the eggs with a generous shower of hollandaise sauce. Top the plate with crumbled bacon or a light dusting of paprika.