These Spinach and poached egg towers make a festive vegetarian starter. The perfect entrée for your Christmas menu, with an easy creamy dressing.
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Heat half a litre of milk with 10 grams of butter, a pinch of nutmeg and half a teaspoon of salt.
Once the milk is warm, stir in the semolina. Beat until smooth, with a whisk, stirring frequently to prevent burning. You will notice it starting to thicken after a few minutes.
Using a wooden spoon instead of a whisk, stir in the cheese. Once the semolina has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in 1 egg yolk, if using.
Lightly moisten a large plate, then spread the semolina over it. Smooth it out so that you have a thin, even layer and let it cool completely in the fridge.
Once fully chilled, cut out circles and let them come to room temperature before serving.
Wash the spinach and remove any excess water with a salad spinner. Peel and finely chop the shallot and garlic cloves. Toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan until they are a nice golden brown.
Make a Roquefort dressing by mixing together the buttermilk, crème fraîche and mayonnaise until smooth.
Crumble in the Roquefort so that there are small pieces in the dressing (or beat it in for a completely smooth dressing). Season with salt and pepper.
Fill a medium saucepan with water, a good splash of vinegar and a good pinch of salt.
Place 4 small bowls side by side. Half fill each bowl with vinegar and add a pinch of salt. Carefully crack an egg into the first bowl. Repeat for the remaining 3 bowls.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes or add an ice cube to each bowl. By putting the eggs in a bowl of vinegar you prevent them from breaking apart when they come into contact with boiling water. There will be a thin (slightly yellowish) layer surrounding the egg.
Once the water in the large pot has come to a boil, reduce the heat. This is to avoid creating too many bubbles which can break the eggs. Fill a bowl with cold water and place it next to the pan of simmering water.
Pour the contents of each bowl into the boiling water 1 at a time (it’s fine to tip in the vinegar!) Let the eggs cook for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the poached eggs from the pan and put them in the bowl of cold water. This will stop the cooking process and remove the vinegary flavour from the eggs.
Heat a dash of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the shallot and garlic. Add the fresh spinach in batches and cook for a few minutes until it has wilted.
Transfer the spinach to a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Season the spinach with salt and pepper.
Make the towers by stacking alternating layers of semolina discs and the cooked spinach. Place a poached egg on top of each tower, and garnish with the Roquefort dressing and toasted almonds. Enjoy your dinner!
What is semolina?
Semolina is a coarse-grained flour made from durum wheat. There are also types of semolina made from spelt, corn and rice.
Can I substitute semolina with something else?
You can replace the semolina with polenta.
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