Eggs Florentine in Tomato Cups. Picture: Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post
This recipe transforms everyday ingredients into a dish that feels truly special and luxurious. 

Tomatoes are hollowed out to become beautiful, edible serving cups, partially filled with a healthful yet decadent-tasting quick creamed spinach. 

Then each is finished with an egg and cheese, and baked until set and melted. The result is stunning and satisfying, a perfect treat for a special breakfast or brunch.

Eggs Florentine in Tomato Cups (Serves 4)

Ingredients
  • 4 very large tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk (1 percent)
  • 283g  frozen/defrosted spinach, squeezed of all excess liquid, then chopped (even if the frozen spinach was already chopped)
  • 28g (1/3 cup) finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Method

  • Cut off the top of each tomato so you'll be able to scoop out the contents.
  • Use a melon baller to remove the insides of the tomatoes (reserve the tomato flesh), making sure to leave the shell of the tomato thick enough to form a sturdy cup.
  • Place the tomato insides into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. 
  • Strain out and discard the seeds, and reserve 1/4 cup of the tomato water. 
  • Discard the tomato flesh or reserve for another use (such as a fresh tomato sauce).
  • Brush the outsides of the 4 hollowed-out tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the shallots; cook for about 2 minutes or until they are translucent, then add the flour and stir for 30 to 45 seconds. 
  • Whisk in the milk and the reserved 1/4 cup of tomato water; once the mixture starts to bubble, cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until it has thickened.
  • Add the spinach and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, to form a thick, creamy sauce. 
  • Stir in half of the cheese and the salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
  • Fill each tomato cup about halfway with the creamed spinach, forming a well in the centre of the spinach and pushing the spinach all the way up the inner sides of the tomatoes. 
  • Be sure to leave enough room in each tomato cup for an egg. (You may have some leftover spinach, depending on the size of your tomatoes. If so, reserve for another use.)
  • Working with one at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl, then carefully slip it into the centre of a spinach well. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. 
  • Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the egg whites are just set, the yolks still seem runny and the cheese has melted.
  • Serve warm.