November 7, 2009

Ultra-Creamy Polenta with Greens and Poached Egg

This dish is pure, elemental comfort food: super creamy polenta dotted with bites of bright, peppery greens, then topped with a rich poached egg and shavings of salty parmesan. A drizzle of fruity extra-virgin olive oil really ties the flavors together. Break the egg yolk with your spoon, and allow its goldenness to seep through the polenta. Yummmm.

Cooking the polenta in a mixture of milk and water leads to luxuriously creamy results. For the greens, I used a combination of mizuna, arugula, and flat-leaf parsley, but you can use any combination of greens and leafy herbs. If using heartier, tougher greens such as broccoli rabe or kale, quickly blanch the greens in salted water first, or saute for a few minutes in olive oil to tenderize them and mellow their bitterness. If you'd prefer to skip the egg, this polenta would also be delicious topped with smoky and spicy black beans (recipe coming soon). This is comfort food that can be enjoyed for any meal of the day.

Ultra-Creamy Polenta with Greens and Poached Egg
Makes about 4 cups of polenta

2 cups organic whole milk 
2 cups water
1 cup medium-ground polenta (not coarse)
1 tsp sea salt
2-1/2 cups greens and leafy herbs, washed well, spun dry, and roughly chopped into bite-size pieces
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or red wine or white wine vinegar)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese
  • Bring milk and water to a boil in a 2 or 3 quart pot, partially covered (keep an eye on it as it approaches a boil - milk loves to foam up and boil over!).
  • Add salt to pot, then add polenta in a steady, slow stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk for a minute or so to prevent lumps from forming. Partially cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until polenta is thickened and creamy. Whisk every few minutes (polenta likes to stick to the bottom of the pot). Add more milk or water (1/4 cup at a time) if the polenta becomes too thick (it should be the texture of porridge).
  • When polenta is cooked to your liking, turn off heat and stir in chopped greens. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover until ready to serve. (If reserved polenta becomes too thick, or to reheat leftovers, stir in 1/4 cup water or milk and whisk over low heat for a couple of minutes to loosed it up.)
  • To poach eggs: add water, to a depth of about 3 inches, to a small pot or saucepan. Bring to a boil, add vinegar, and reduce heat to low. (It should be just below a simmer, hot enough for small bubbles to form on the bottom of the pot but not actively bubbling - that would break up the egg.) Break each egg into a small cup and carefully slide egg into water. I like to swirl the water with the handle of a wooden spoon right after adding the egg; it prevents the egg from spreading out too much into the water. Poach for 4 to 5 minutes, until white is firm and yolk is still soft. Remove egg from pot with a slotted spoon.
  • Transfer hot polenta to bowls. Top each serving with a poached egg, drizzle with olive oil, and shower with parmesan shavings.


  1. Seee....Now I would LOVE this. I have a friend who shall remain she likes to follow me about here in blogdom..who is Italian AND does NOT like polenta...really?! How can that be?! I love love it and this looks wonderful!

  2. Oh that looks so good! Totally yummy...I would definitely keep the egg. I am an "egg girl"!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Stay Cozy, Carrie

  3. Oh how pretty. Creamy-eggy-deliciousness. Love cooking the polenta with the milk. If only I could have a spoonful now.

  4. Hi ladies - thanks for your comments!

    Chow and Chatter - this is a good one; nice for brunch, too.

    Hi Trish - welcome! Funny, I have a friend who is Italian and hates CHEESE - go figure! I think some people dislike the grittiness they associate with more coarsely ground polenta; I used a more finely ground version here, maybe that would make a difference.

    Hi Carrie - thanks for stopping by! I am an egg girl too - the runnier the yolk, the better :)

    Hi Claudia - I am all about the creamy-eggy-deliciousness! Just had some of the leftover polenta for breakfast - just as yummy the next day, topped with a freshly poached egg.

  5. Nancy, this dish looks so comforting and rich with the saucy egg yolks. Thanks for sharing the fantastic information on the osage orange tree on Chow and Chatter. I'm impressed with your knowledge. I gave you a blog award on FLB. I adore your blog!

  6. Thanks, Christine! That is so sweet. I adore your blog as well! I share in your philosophy that fresh and local definitely is best!

  7. This is what's for breakfast tomorrow!

  8. Mark - terrific! Let me know how you like it!