Eggs Sardou

This poached egg dish, a specialty of the restaurants of New Orleans, is named for the French playwright Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), who is best known as the author of La Tosca, the play on which Puccini’s opera was based. It is a lesser-known fact that Sardou traveled in America and wrote a satire on the country entitled L’Oncle Sam. Presumably, it was during these travels that he visited New Orleans and was entertained at Antoine’s restaurant. The owner, Antoine Alciatore, created the egg dish in his honor.

Eggs Sardou is a dish remembered from my childhood, and I rate it, along with eggs Benedict, as one of America’s finest creations. It consists of poached eggs served in artichoke bottoms crossed with anchovy fillets. The eggs are then served with a bit of hollandaise sauce spooned on top, along with a garnish of truffles and/or finely chopped ham. Some recipes, including this one, call for creamed spinach as a base on which to place the artichokes; a nice idea, but not, I believe, a part of the original.

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Ingredients

Method

  1. Put ½ cup creamed spinach on each of 4 heated plates. Smooth it over. Place 2 artichoke bottoms on top of the spinach, cut side up.
  2. Arrange 2 flat anchovy fillets, crossed, over the 2 artichoke bottoms. Place 1 poached egg in the center of each artichoke bottom. Spoon 1 tablespoon hollandaise sauce over each egg.
  3. Quickly heat the ham in a skillet and garnish the top of each egg with 1 tablespoon chopped ham and/or 1 truffle slice.

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