I was talking with photographer friend Jeff Spirer the other day. He usually comes up with interesting food ideas, often dishes I have never tried before. He mentioned that he made a spin off of shrimp and grits that night. Basically he married Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Shrimp Diane recipe with good old fashioned creamy grits and Parmesan cheese. I’m going to have to give this a try.
Somewhere along the way polenta was mentioned which led to me looking it up and then picking up a bag from the grocery. That night I made a cup of the polenta to just get the feel for it. I liked it and got the feeling that I would be able to make good use of it in future meals.
Having grown up in the South this was the first time polenta ever hit my plate but it was not an altogether unfamiliar taste or texture to me since we had grits growing up and for me grits are breakfast food.
So, this morning I thought I would give it a go. Here’s what I did –
- 4 cups water brought to a boil
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 sharp cheddar grated
- 1/2 medium onion minced
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 large tomato diced
- 6 slices peppered bacon cooked crisp in a skillet
- 1 medium avocado sliced
- juice of one lemon
Pan fry bacon until crisp and set aside. Next saute your onion in the bacon fat until soft then add garlic and cook for about three more minutes.
When the water reaches a boil, slowly add the polenta while whisking it in then lower the heat to a simmer. Continue stirring for about 8 minutes then add your milk and butter. From this point on you will be working on the consistency you want so you will want to begin slowly mixing in the cheese and continue to stir. I found that as I went along I needed to add a little more butter and milk to get the creaminess I wanted. It reminded me of making risotto, if you have ever done that you’ll know what I mean. Taste for seasoning; I added a little cayenne pepper, black pepper and a bit more salt.
Back in your skillet, remove your onion and garlic and set aside. Now fry your eggs in the fat to your desired doneness. (that might not be a word)
When your polenta is the texture you want add a tbsp or so of lemon juice, mix well then spoon it onto your plate, top with a little onion and garlic, diced tomato, sliced avocado and crumbled bacon. Add your fried egg and maybe a little fresh basil if you wish.
You will want to work on your timing so that your eggs and the polenta are ready about the same time.
This fed four people and there was a little polenta left over as well.
Hope you give it a try.