One of my favorite dishes to make in the winter is a big bowl of polenta topped with a scoop of whatever leftover vegetables are rolling around in the fridge. Sarah Copeland seems to be of the same mind. She has four (yes, four) different recipes for polenta in her new cookbook, Feast, and I couldn't have been more pleased to try one out. For winter, she tops cheddar-filled polenta with a wilted melange of bitter greens and cherry tomatoes, a delicate poached egg, and a few crumbles of pungent blue cheese.
Why I picked this recipe: Polenta-with-toppings screams winter comfort food to me; this recipe was a no-brainer.
What worked: I had never used this cooking method for polenta, and I was surprised to find that it turned out perfectly soft and creamy.
What didn't: I would have liked a greater ratio of salad to polenta. Next time, I'll double the salad ingredients and keep the polenta portions the same.
Suggested tweaks: You could use other winter greens in place of the frisée and radicchio if you like (bitter mustard greens would be nice). Frying the egg will work if you're not a fan of poaching.
Reprinted with permission from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland. Copyright 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 30 to 45 minutes
- Total time:30 to 45 minutes
- 3 1/2 cups (840 ml) water
- 1 cup (140 g) polenta
- Sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ounce (30 g) cheddar or Dubliner cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 small head radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 head frisée, torn into bite-size pieces
- Dash white or regular balsamic vinegar
- 4 large eggs, poached
- 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 55 g) Danish blue, Roquefort, Valdeon blue, or Gorgonzola cheese
Bring 3 cups (720 ml) of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly add the polenta, stir with a wooden spoon, and add 1 teaspoon 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 tablespoons of the butter, and the cheddar to the polenta and stir together over medium-low heat until just warmed through and soft enough to drop easily from a spoon, a few minutes more. Cover to keep warm.
Heat the olive oil in your largest 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 the vinegar, the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) water, and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and toss together.
Spoon the polenta into bowls and top with the salad and poached eggs. Crumble the blue cheese over the top before serving.