Sunday, February 19, 2017

Polenta with Winter Salad, Poached Egg, and Blue Cheese


Could there be anything more comforting than a bowl of hot polenta topped with a runny egg? Yep. If it's also accompanied by bursting cherry tomatoes and warmed radicchio and frisée. And, people, it has been one rainy winter, so we're looking for savory comfort food. Food to be eaten while it rains, again. Food to be eaten while the sky is grey. Food for a Sunday afternoon.



Enter Sarah Copeland, the food director for Real Simple. In her second cookbook, Feast, she gives an array of polenta options--one for each season.  
  • Winter: Polenta with Winter Salad, Poached Egg, and Blue Cheese
  • Spring: Polenta with Sugar Snaps
  • Summer: Polenta with Grilled Tomatoes and Zucchini
  • Fall: Polenta with Mushroom Pomodoro
Don't those all sound delicious? I see a future for me and polenta.



But what we really want to focus on here, friends, is this Winter Salad topping: radicchio, frisée, and a handful of sautéed cherry tomatoes. 

And it doesn't matter that these are somewhat tasteless and out-of-season tomatoes in one of those plastic clam shells, because we're going to coax a ton of flavor out of them, sally them right next to some sharp and bitter lettuces, and top with creamy blue cheese.  

We can do this.


And we are going to jump whole-heartedly into this quite pretty corn porridge and snuggle in for an afternoon of reading and rain (to be followed by an evening of visitors and probably more rain). 



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Polenta with Winter Salad, Poached Egg, and Blue Cheese

Adapted from Sarah Copeland's Feast

Yield
4 Servings

Ingredients
½ cups water
1 cup polenta
salt
1 ¼ cup whole milk
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ounce cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 handful cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
¼ small head radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces
½ head frisée, town into bite-size pieces
Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white vinegar
4 large eggs
1-2 ounces blue cheese (Danish blue, Roquefort, Valdeon Blue, or Gorgonzola)

Instructions


1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly add the polenta, stir with a wooden spoon, and add 1 tsp salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is tender and fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Add the milk, 2 Tbsp butter, and the cheddar to the polenta and stir tether over medium-low heat until just warmed through soft enough to drop easily from a spoon. Cover to keep warm.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are charred and have burst, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the radicchio and frisée and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in a dash of balsamic vinegar, the remaining ½ cup water, and the remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir everything together.

3.  Fill a shallow skillet two-thirds full with salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the teaspoon of white vinegar (the acid helps keep the egg from spreading or "feathering" too far). Crack each egg individually into a small bowl and then carefully slip each one into the water. Poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes, until the whites have set but the yolks are still soft. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. 

4.  Spoon the polenta into bowls and top with the warm salad and a poached egg. Crumble the blue cheese over the top before serving.

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