Sometime in the 1980s, I developed a deep and abiding love for eggs Florentine: It’s the creamy spinach stirred together with a runny egg yolk. That sumptuous mixture was precisely the inspiration for this breakfast pie. It’s what you want on a snowy morning—slightly wobbly coddled eggs basted with cream in a delicious roasted potato crust whose scent means carrying the pie from oven to table is a moment worthy of everyone’s attention. Because nearly everyone likes bacon, scatter crispy bits across the top. All that, and it’s gluten-free, too. Do not use a convection oven as a breeze wafting over the eggs results in a weird, rubbery texture.
Make Ahead: This pie is not suitable for making ahead of time.
- 1/2 pound (225 g) smoked bacon, chopped, optional
HASH BROWN CRUST
- 1 medium onion (142 g), peeled
- 1-1/2 pounds (680 g) russet potatoes (about 4), scrubbed but not peeled
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or grapeseed (if not using bacon fat)
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach (453 g), defrosted and the liquid squeezed out
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion (140 g), chopped into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 large eggs (or see swaps)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
Heat the oven to 350°F. Scatter the bacon across the slab pie pan, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and drain. Do not dispose of the bacon fat, but pour some into a small bowl and leave the rest in the pan. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F; if you have one, place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.
For the crust: Grate the onion on the medium holes of a box grater or a food processor’s grating disk (my preference). Place the onions in a medium mixing bowl. Grate the potatoes on the large holes side of the box grater, and, taking a handful at a time, squeeze the shreds over a small bowl. As each handful is squeezed, place in the bowl with the onions. Continue until all the potatoes have been grated and their liquid squeezed out. Work quickly to keep the potatoes from turning brown. You should have about 4 cups of dry-ish potatoes in the end.
Let the potato liquid sit for about 5 minutes, until the starch and liquid separate. Pour off the liquid, keeping the starchy white paste at the bottom. That’s potato starch and we love it. Add the starch to the grated onions and potatoes, then add the egg and egg white, salt, and pepper and stir with your hands. If bacon fat is not present on the baking sheet, brush the neutral oil into the corners and across the bottom of the pan. Firmly press the potato mixture into the pan using the sides of your hand and your knuckles. Brush the surface of the potatoes with bacon fat. Bake (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet if using) until the potatoes have started to turn brown, 35 to 45 minutes
For the filling: Use your hands (or a colander and a firm wooden spoon) to squeeze the liquid out of the spinach. The drier the spinach, the less time is required to cook it, which keeps the flavor fresh and green and not metallic.
In a large, wide sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the spinach, and cook until the mixture is nearly dry, another 5 to 7 minutes. Grate nutmeg over the spinach and add the cream, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes more.
When the potato crust is baked and all crispy and browned, spread the spinach filling thickly over the top. Use the bottom of a ladle to form 8 wells in the spinach mixture and crack an egg into each divot. Spoon a tablespoon of cream over each egg.
Scatter the crispy bacon bits all across the pie. Slip the pan back in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the eggs’ whites are cooked through. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the Pecorino and chives. Serve right away.
- Eight large eggs fit easily. If you need to stretch to accommodate a crowd, you can fit ten small eggs or 18 quail eggs.
- Swap out half the russets for sweet potatoes. In a pinch, defrost frozen shredded potatoes.
- Instead of bacon, drape thin, translucent pieces of jamon Iberico, country ham, or prosciutto over the hot eggs when they emerge From the oven. Or opt for smoked salmon, trout, or fresh crab.
- To serve vegetarians, simply omit the hammy bits.
James Beard Award Nominee 2019 for Best Cookbook: Baking and Desserts
Learn how to bake slab pies: the delicious new food trend that makes it easy to serve sweet or savory pastry to a crowd--or save it all for your family!
For those of you who aren't up on your Pinterest food trends, slab pie is just like regular pie--only better (and bigger)! Instead of crimping and meticulously rolling out a round crust, slab pies are an unfussy twist that are perfect for a potluck or dinner party or just a family dinner. Baked on sheet pans, slab pies can easily serve a crowd of people dinner or dessert. Pie Squared includes seventy-five foolproof recipes, along with inventive decoration tips that will appeal to baking nerds and occasional bakers alike. And this fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will surely pique the interest of those who have previously been reluctant to take out their rolling pin.
Barrow didn't invent slab pie, but she definitely thinks outside of the crust. In addition to traditional pie dough, she offers more than a dozen crust recipes-from cracker crusts and cornbread crusts to cookie crusts and cheddar cheese crusts. Using these as a base, Barrow then entices readers with both savory and sweet slab pie creations, with recipes like Spinach, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Slab Pie and Curried Chicken Slab Pie to Sour Cream Peach Melba Slab Pie and Grande Mocha Cappuccino Slab Pie. The first book of its kind, this will appeal to lovers of easy food trends like sheet pan suppers and dump cakes. Don't be surprised when you start spying slab pies at your next potluck!