Thursday, August 16, 2012

Parmesan Polenta with Garlic Kale and Poached Egg

This is my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch dish ever.

Screw pancakes, Belgian waffles, quiche - all that stuff is crap in comparison. It's not quite "last meal" quality (I'm having Steak Bearnaise with creamed spinach and duck fat fries at that meal. A girl's gotta plan ahead) but it's super tasty and one of the only dishes I make on a regular basis. I prefer to eat it alone, in my pajamas, while watching TV when I should be working or folding laundry.

I also eat it alone because the sight and smell of poached eggs make my husband gag. (Marriage is about compromise, even when you're right and they're very, very wrong)

I make it pretty much the same way every time, but never thought to write it down until I found out that my upcoming foot surgery (aka Ortho-pocalypse 2012) would take me out of the kitchen for several weeks. Which means that I won't be able to make my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch dish ever and I'll be dependent upon someone who claims to be allergic to eggs for my fix. 

Doesn't the egg look like Pac-man?
Parmesan Polenta with Garlic Kale and Poached Egg
Serves 1

The object of poached eggs is to keep them round and compact with firm but tender whites and warm, liquid yolks. To help this occur, always make sure to use Grade AA eggs since the yolk and white are firmer. Distilled white vinegar will help the white coagulate, which will also help your poached egg stay compact.

1 egg
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lacinato kale, loosely packed, shredded
3 tablespoons polenta
3/4 cup water, chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt & black pepper to taste

Using 1 tablespoon vinegar to each quart of water, bring water and vinegar up to a simmer in a shallow, wide pan. Break egg into a small bowl or dish. Using the dish, slide the egg into the simmering water. Simmer for 3 minutes until the whites are cooked and firm, but before the yolk becomes solid. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and pat dry.

Quickly dump out the water and wipe out any egg remnants from the pan. Put the pan back on medium heat and add olive oil. When shimmering, add garlic, kale and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Saute for a few minutes (2-4) until kale is just wilted.

Meanwhile, heat water in a small saucepot. When at a simmer, add polenta and whisk vigorously to combine. Polenta should thicken up almost immediately. Stir in butter and cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, pour polenta into a bowl and top with garlic kale. Gently place poached egg on top and sprinkle with cracked black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.