Brunch Success and the Fine Art of Polenta
Some of you may be thinking, polenta that's quick and easy enough to make, not sure why you would devote an entire post to it? That it is where you would be wrong. I even had to correct Will for having the same notion. This is not to say that polenta requires any difficulty in making, it's just requires a watchful eye and takes longer to make. Sure polenta is pretty instant to make, but in order to get the full flavor and textural consistency that we love in polenta it will take some time simmering to bring out these flavors. Another thing I want to add is that their are varying grind and corn types. The fullest flavor, though, comes from a coarse grind and "cooking the polenta long and slow for as much as an hour develops a deep corn flavor and light texture," says Alice Waters in her book, "The Art of Simple Food". Waters' knows a little something about celebrating simple food at home and at her restaurant Chez Panisse for the last 30 years and in her book she lays out the necessary steps and tools to cook and bake well executed, simple foods at home.
This dish in itself really celebrates the full flavors and simplicity of each ingredient; the kale was full of flavor with a nice texture, the tomatoes were softened a little and a sweet compliment to the polenta and kale and the egg was perfectly poached adding a nice sauce from it's yoke to the dish. I love meals like this where it's so simple and delicious that you kind of feel dumb for not making it more often.
Polenta serves 4
Recipe from Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
Boil in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven 4 cups of water. When boiling, whisk in 1 cup polenta and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn down the heat and stir constantly until the polenta is suspended in the water and no longer settles to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, at a bare simmer. Add water if the polenta becomes too thick. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and and add more salt if needed.
Sauteed Kale with Tomatoes serves 4
1 bunch kale or spinach, destemmed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chile flake
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
pinch of salt and pepper
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add garlic and chile flake to pan. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add kale and saute until well incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes to pan and cover until the kale has wilted and tomatoes have softened slightly, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon polenta in 4 shallow bowls and kale mixture over it and top with a poached or fried egg.