Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Polenta with Asparagus, Spicy Butter and a Poached Egg

This weekend, Scott was out of town visiting his mother. I decided to seize the opportunity and make for myself something with polenta which is not one of his favorite foods. I am proud to say that I sort of made up this recipe myself and I think that it worked pretty well. The polenta is crunchy and soft. The asparagus is sweet. The sriracha butter’s spice balances the sweet while the egg makes it gooey and moist. Sadly for the man who doesn’t much care for polenta (but not for me)  after making and photographing the dish I decided that it needed tweaking so I made it again tonight. 

Serves 4
300g coarse grain polenta
50g parmesan cheese
1 bunch asparagus
12 shallots
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1-4 tsp sriracha
4 eggs
cooking spray
Polenta is really just Italian yellow grits. You can serve it wet, or you can let it set up, like I do here and then grill it. To make polenta:
Slowly pour in polenta, stirring vigorously and constantly.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil with about a tablespoon of salt. 

Turn down the heat and gently simmer for 40 minutes. Add parmesan cheese.
Pour onto a cooking sheet, spreading evenly so that the polenta is 1/2 in thick. Let the mixture set up for about an hour to cool and harden. Do not refrigerate. 

Once the polenta is cool, you can cut it into triangles, squares or use biscuit or cookie cutters for the desired shape. Then, simply place on a grill or grill pan, heating about 3 minutes on each side. 
-recipe from Simply Slow Cooking by Joanne Glynn

While the polenta is cooling, trim and chop the asparagus in 1 in long sections. Peal and thinly slice the shallots. 

Add the asparagus and shallots to a large pan with a little olive oil. Cook until tender, season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, put the softened butter in a small bowl. Add 1-4 tsp sriracha or your favorite hot sauce to taste. Mix, to combine with the butter. As you do this you’ll want to remember that this will be eaten with other things so you might want to make it spicier than you would want it to be by itself. However, if you add too much hot sauce it will make it more difficult to spread on the plate. 


Then poach your eggs. There are a million different you tube videos ect demonstrating how exactly to do this so it turns out perfectly, but I say- not after a long day’s work! No, I cheat and microwave mine. You can do this in little silicone gadgets made just for the occasion or in Pyrex containers. Simply add about 1/3 c water, lightly drop in the egg and microwave for about 30 seconds. 

To assemble:

Place about 1 Tbsp of the sriracha butter in the center of each plate and spread with a spatula.

Then two polenta triangles, topped by the asparagus and shallot mixture. Finally, gently slide atop the poached egg. Season with salt and pepper.

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