Eggs Sardou was created at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans and named in honor of the French playwright Victorien Sardou's visit to the restaurant. It originally consisted of poached eggs topped with artichoke hearts, ham, anchovies, truffles and hollandaise sauce. Most of the popular recipes omit the ham, anchovies, and truffles in favor of creamed spinach. This recipe is a riff on Eggs Sardou—reminiscent of the original (and variations), but somehow different. It is great for brunch or lunch, and can be multiplied to serve more people. To me, this is the ultimate in comfort food--eggs over vegetables--The creme fraiche gives it a more elegant twist. The spinach/artichoke combination is a great base for broiled fish, or can be served with lentils for a vegetarian dish (minus the bacon). (I have been having trouble with my camera/computer connection but will try to upload a photo during the week.) - drbabs
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a totally wonderful recipe. The salty, meaty, bacony flavor in the spinach goes wonderfully with the artichokes' tang. I loved how the lemon creme fraiche melting into the runny egg yolks held everything together. I think this would also be good without the artichokes, or even with canned artichokes if you're feeling pressed for time. - fiveandspice —The Editors
large globe artichokes, stems trimmed so they can sit flat
large lemon, cut in half
fresh ground pepper
slices good quality bacon, cut to 1/2 inch pieces
clove garlic, minced
lemon juice and zest of one lemon
Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
chopped fresh parsley
In This Recipe
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water. Add a few tablespoons of kosher salt (water should taste of salt) and bring to a boil. Rub the cut sides and bottoms of the artichokes with the lemon wedges. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the boiling water. Add the artichokes and lemon halves, and simmer, partially covered, until the bottoms are tender and can be pierced with a sharp knife and an outer leaf pulls out easily, 15 to 20 minutes (or more if the artichokes are very large). Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for the spinach. Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander.
When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, remove the outer leaves so the inner choke and prickly leaves are revealed. (At this point I am munching on the leaves, but you can reserve them for another use or discard them.) Pull out the cone of white leaves in the center and gently scrape out the hairy choke with a spoon so as not to damage the heart. Place the artichoke hearts in a dish, cover, and keep warm. (You can put them into a 200 degree oven.)
Warm 2 plates for serving.
Cook bacon till crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat, and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook garlic till just softened--don't let it burn. Add spinach and a little of the artichoke liquor to the pan, and cover and cook until all the spinach has wilted. Uncover and let the liquid reduce somewhat. Stir the bacon or pancetta back into the spinach and add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Place into a covered dish and keep warm. (You can put it into the oven also.)
Place the creme fraiche into a small saucepan and stir the lemon juice, zest, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce into the creme fraiche. Place over very low heat to warm gently. Stir and adjust seasoning.
Fry or poach the eggs. (I like Merrill's technique for frying eggs in olive oil, and there's a great recipe for poached eggs on this site as well.)
To serve, divide the spinach between the two warmed plates. Place two artichoke bottoms on the spinach on each plate. Place the eggs on the artichoke bottoms. Stir the warm creme fraiche and spoon it over the eggs. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.