Immediately after our daughter Violet was born, I purchased a life insurance policy with the idea that, in the case of my untimely demise, my wife and daughter would at least be able to console themselves in their time of grief by buying a new house or a car with a tan leather interior. As part of this process, the insurance company sent an elderly doctor to my house, to collect blood for a series of tests, in order to determine my monthly premium.
I was a little nervous; living outside the United States away from routine, scheduled medical care, coupled with my somewhat laissez-faire approach to physical wellness, as well as my penchant for scotch and cheese sauce, I wondered what kind of numbers I would see. What kind of havoc had I been wreaking on my internal organs for all these years?
As it turns out, the numbers weren’t bad. My cholesterol is a little high, but certainly not outside the realm of a lot of 34-year-olds. “It’s the kind of number you can probably reduce just by having a bowl of Cheerios every day,” my new doctor said.
“So,” I replied, “do you mean like eating rare hamburgers topped with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce?”
“No,” he said, “I don’t mean anything like that at all.”
This burger will kill you. I suggest defending yourself with a knife and fork.
Eggs Florentine Burgers
Makes three burgers
For the burgers:
- 1 pound ground beef
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 hamburger buns, split
- 3 eggs
- Splash of white vinegar
- 3 cups fresh spinach
For the Hollandaise:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
- Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste
Make the burgers: Divide beef into three equal balls, and flatten into hamburger patties. Try to work the beef with your hands as little as possible, just enough to shape the hamburger patties. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and cook in a skillet over high heat until medium rare, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Cook the spinach: Add a tablespoon of butter to the burger drippings. Add raw spinach and cook over medium heat until spinach begins to wilt.
Make the poached eggs: Crack an egg into small dish, and set aside. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water, and add a splash of white vinegar. Heat water over medium heat until millions of bubbles appear; the point just before the water starts to simmer. Reduce heat to low and, holding the edge of the small bowl with the egg as closely as possible to the nearly-simmering water, slip the egg into the water. Adjust heat as needed to keep water from boiling or simmering vigorously. Cook until yolks are just set, about four minutes, and remove with slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.
Make the Hollandaise:
- Fill a small saucepan with 2 inches of water, and place over medium heat. When water simmers, reduce heat to maintain gentle simmer, and place a small metal or heat-safe glass on top of the pan, as a double-boiler. Add egg yolks, mustard, and lemon juice, and whisk until combined.
- In a slow, steady stream, pour melted butter into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Using a candy thermometer, make sure egg yolks reach 140 degrees, then remove from heat. Keep whisking until sauce thickens, about three minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Finished sauce can be kept warm in a thermos, insulated coffee cup, or over very low heat, until ready to assemble.