Artist’s Palate: Ragnar Kjartansson’s eggs florentine

Ragnar Kjartansson’s eggs florentine
Tripolino S’ table, £3,000, by Cristina Celestino, from Monologue. ‘Tourron’ dinner plate in alabaster, £25, by Thomas Goode. Interiors: Matthew Morris. Food: Iain Graham
(Image credit: John Short)

Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson believes in the redemptive qualities of melancholy – for his video piece ‘God’, he filmed himself as a 1950s cabaret act, with an orchestra and pink satin curtains in the background, singing the words ‘sorrow conquers happiness’ on and on. Likewise, his more recent work, ‘A Lot of Sorrow’ saw indie-rock band The National play their ballad ‘Sorrow’ continuously for six hours at MoMA PS1, until its mournful mood gave way to a surprising exuberance. His recipe of choice, unsurprisingly, finds comfort and uplift in nostalgia. This eggs florentine comes from his favourite recipe book as a child – ‘the colours, the visual vibrance, the yellow and white eggs on green spinach and pasta underneath always enchanted me,’ he recalls. ‘For the ones who like the tang of nutmeg and soggy spinach with their red wine, this is the perfect dish for a Friday night.’

Serves 4
230g spaghetti
60g butter
900g fresh spinach or 340g frozen spinach
A little nutmeg
4 eggs
1 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and toss with half the butter.

If using fresh spinach, wash it carefully first. It is frozen, allow it to thaw then drain and squeeze dry.

Cook the spinach until wilted, then sprinkle with nutmeg and finely ground pepper.

Place the spaghetti on a warm serving plate with a layer of spinach on top.

Fry the eggs in the remaining butter with a little oil so they don’t burn.

Put the eggs on top of the spinach and serve hot.

A version of this article originally featured in the June 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*243)

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TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.