One of my favorite little kitchen productions, thanks to Melissa Clark's inspiring cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite has been the big red pot of polenta I seem to always have going. This is not the first time I've written about polenta and I doubt it'll be the last, because it's probably the best representation, next to the roasted chicken, of how my little kitchen repertoire has been enhanced.
I always have polenta and "fake" chicken seasoning (this is a powder that I buy in bulk from Rainbow or Whole Foods) in the pantry and butter and parmesan in the fridge, so this one's a no brainer.
Get 4 1/2 cups of water boiling, then using a large heat-proof spatula, I stir in the seasoning (4T), then stir in the polenta (1 1/2 cups). Let it come to a bubble, reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper and keep the polenta moving around the pot every couple of minutes, until it's all thick and creamy. Stir in a
Heat up a small pot of water until it's barely simmering. Smitten Kitchen has the best egg poaching method right here. Crack your egg into a small ramekin and then slide it into the water and swirl the handle of a wooden spoon around the outer edge of the pot to sort of contain your egg into the center of the swirling vortex and poach it a few minutes until the white stops jiggling, then scoop it outta the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel for a few seconds, then plop it onto your bowl of steaming hot polenta, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then finish it with some shredded parmesan.
I usually store the remaining polenta in a wide square container so that it sets into some kind of loaf shape which I can slice off and reheat in a skillet, or bake into "fries", or reheat in the microwave with a few splashes of water for the next mornings breakfast bowl. Coincidentally, whilst I was still pondering and editing this post, Smitten Kitchen posted this gorgeous breakfast this morning. So of course, I shall be making it tomorrow, and wouldn't this be a great accompaniment to polenta fries!?!