Baked Eggs Florentine by Eggcellence
Feb 28, 2011 11:54PM ● Published by Ashley West
The early birds that flock to the new “breakfast brunchery” have quickly taken to the relaxed yet contemporary atmosphere and top-notch menu items, which, of course, includes eggs prepared in an infinite amount of styles. Baked eggs, is a bit off the beaten path. In fact, to make this month’s dish, Baked Eggs Florentine, you needn’t beat or whisk the eggs at all. This quick and easy breakfast recipe takes simple ingredients and turns them into an extraordinary dish. Chef William G. Paine III shows us the way, as well as divulges his culinary background.
Baked Eggs Florentine by Eggcellence
2625 Housley Rd., Annapolis
What’s Up?: Will, how did your culinary career begin?
Chef William Paine: Prior to my first foodservice job, my mother taught me to cook at home. It was my duty to cook for the family every Wednesday night. This went on for quite awhile until I attempted to make empanadas. They proved to be a little too difficult and that ended my Wednesday nights for the next couple months. I began cooking eggs at Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs and you could find me working the omelet station every Sunday morning for brunch. I found that I had a knack for cooking eggs and loved the showmanship of cooking in front of the guest. Though, it was my high school nutrition teacher, Mrs. Manteria, who urged me to go to the Culinary Institute of America and pursue a career in food service.
WU: Please describe the culinary influence present in your dishes.
WP: Breakfast is very simple; there is no need to complicate it with fancy sauces or difficult preparation techniques. We are simply creating breakfast items and putting some care into the food that we serve our guests in a clean, upscale atmosphere. Fresh ingredients and products made from scratch are the most important aspects to a high quality breakfast.
WU: How did you come to work at Eggcellence?
WP: Approximately three years ago the owner, Ray Bettwy, called to inform me of the concept of Eggcellence. In January of 2008 we took a trip to Phoenix, Arizona to research the brunchery craze that has been going on out there. I never knew that my willingness to work at age 14 [working for Bettwy at a previous restaurant] would help me earn the opportunity that I have today with Eggcellence.
WU: What do you like most about your job?
WP: It is always a great feeling to be the first stop of the day and provide our guests with the ultimate breakfast experience. It is very rewarding to hear how much people enjoy the food that we have created.
WU: What makes this dish, Baked Eggs Florentine, special to you?
WP: This is a dish that is not prepared anywhere else in Annapolis. Every other breakfast restaurant in town has a dozen different omelets and benedicts on their menu, but nobody [that I know of] is baking eggs or making frittatas like we do.
WU: Is this recipe a traditional recipe, or have you modified it?
WP: I would consider this recipe to be fairly traditional. Most people have had “Florentine…something,” we are just adding “Florentine” to a style of egg preparation that most people have not tried.
WU: Is there a particular drink that goes well with this dish?
WP: If it is not too early in the morning to enjoy a glass of wine, a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would pair quite well with the dish. If wine at 8 a.m. is not your thing, a little coffee and OJ would always be delicious.
Baked Eggs Florentine
2 whole large eggs
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a ramekin or small casserole dish in the oven to preheat at same time. 1) While oven and ramekin are preheating, sauté onion and minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat in a pan for about 2 minutes. Add spinach and toss in pan about 2 additional minutes. 2 & 3) Remove ramekin from oven and crack two eggs into it; top with sautéed vegetables. Place dish back in oven and bake until the whites are fully cooked and yolks are still runny (about 7–10 minutes). Remove from oven and finish with a little parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Allow eggs to sit a moment before serving, because they are very hot.