Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poached Eggs with Arugula and Polenta Fingers

Never been as angry at a dish as I was at this one. (I mean, as angry as you can get making dinner, I guess.) Either I don't know what I'm doing with polenta, or instructions to fry polenta are mean and evil. Polenta explodes... all those little bits of corn pop pop pop in the hot oil, causing much cussing and consternation. I had a dish towel covering the arm of my spatula hand, and a piece of aluminum foil in my other hand as a shield for the rest of me. Add the danger to the fact that the polenta rectangles don't stay in one piece, rendering themselves unpretty plate additions... bah. Hateful.

Other than that, I was pretty happy with dinner. The poached egg oozed dreamily over the lightly-dressed arugula and the polenta blobs provided nice texture and heft. Speaking of the polenta, this was the first time I'd made it with coconut milk and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. The coconut flavor was a nice twist - I wouldn't do it all the time, but it made for a nice change.

So. If you have an outfit made of silicone and gloves on, make this tasty salad for yourself!

Poached Eggs with Arugula and Polenta Fingers
c/o Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2008

From Oliver Maindroult of Urbane.

1 13.5 to 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup water
½ cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
2 cups arugula
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Fleur de sel

Butter 13x9x2-ince baking pan. Bring coconut milk and ½ water to a boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in polenta; reduce heat and simmer until polenta is very thick and tender, about 7 minutes. Mix in cheese. Pour polenta into half of pan; spread to form 9x6-inch rectangle. Press plastic wrap onto surface of polenta and chill until firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Turn polenta out onto cutting board. Cut into 3x1 –inch rectangles. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add polenta fingers; cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet; keep warm in oven.

Add enough water to large skillet to reach depth of 2 inches; bring to simmer. Mix in 1 teaspoon coarse salt and white wine vinegar. Crack each egg into separate custard cup. Slide eggs into water and cook until whites are set but centers are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss arugula with ½ tablespoon oil and balsamic vinegar in medium bowl; divide among 4 plates.

Top each salad with poached egg. Break yolks with tip of knife. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve with polenta.


Bridget said...

I've made this as well. I had the same thought about the coconut milk - weird, but surprisingly tasty.

I froze half of the unfried polenta fingers. The fresh polenta fried up okay - I didn't have as much splattering as you describe, and they held their shape. The second time, they fell apart, but I was attributing that to the crappy "nonstick" (except, not really) pan I used, or perhaps the fact that they were frozen.

Overall, I agree that the flavors were really good together.

Deborah said...

I love how elegant all of your food has been lately. But it makes me feel really unsophisticated! Delicious sounding meal.

Paula said...

Ooooh, this looks so incredibly good! What a great combo! Thanks for the warning about the explosive quality of the polenta! I actually make polenta often, but now you've given me new ideas. Man, now I'm hungry!

Arfi Binsted said...

I haven't yet used polenta and I should do that. They look crispy those fingers. I love poached eggs. One time I just am so lazy to do any lunch and made a spaghetti with grated zucchini and poach eggs, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. That's it. But it was delicious!

chocolate shavings said...

That looks great, especially with the polenta!


Christie @ fig & cherry said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm about to do a cauliflower and polenta dish so will remember to don the wetsuit! ;)

GrowItGreen said...

Oh my goodness, I can just picture you with the foil, I am sure it wasnt funny at the time, though.
I am anxious, however to try this recipe. I love polenta, but I have a lot of trouble getting my kids to eat it. I think this would be a perfect solution. Thank you for posting.

I have found a lot of great advice and recipes on foodista.com

Anonymous said...

Last year I tried, tried and tried again to make polenta in about a million different ways and all I got was burns on my forearms and too much frustration. And on top of it, when I made it, even if it turned out nice, I didn't like it. So I gave up, even writing a post to the effect.

Funny though, I love everything corn too....just not polenta. Don't sweat it if it's tough. You aren't the first.

Tim said...

Looks great! Is there anything that can't be made better with a poached egg?