Friday, August 26, 2011

Fresh Corn Polenta with Baked Eggs

As soon as I laid my eyes on this recipe, I knew it would be appearing on my kitchen table soon. I could easily picture how cute it would look to bake an egg right in the polenta. And as if being adorable isn't enough, it's also cheesy with chunks of fresh corn and a touch of delightful heat from the poblano. I just wish someone had slept over the night before so I could have slipped one of these in front of them for breakfast. Good morning indeed.

Serves 4

1 medium poblano pepper (or red pepper)
3 cups fresh corn (from 3 to 4 ears)
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup corn grits
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese (full 3/4 cup)
8 eggs

1.      Preheat oven to 475° F. Place the pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook until the skin blisters and begins to darken, about 10 minutes (turn the pepper over 2-3 times using tongs, so all sides get dark). Pull the foil up and around the pepper until it’s completely enclosed and let sit for 10 minutes (to steam). Once the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the stem & seeds, cut lengthwise into thin strips and halve the strips.
2.      Reduce oven temperature to 325˚ F. Pulse the corn in a food processor until you have a coarse purée. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the corn purée and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
3.      Stir in the corn grits, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring from time to time, until thickened and cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper. Stir in the poblano pepper and cheese. Polenta can be made ahead (reheat before adding eggs to ensure even cooking).
4.      Divide the polenta between two oiled pie plates or four individual oiled gratin dishes. With the back of a spoon, make little indentations in the polenta, like evenly spaced craters that can each receive its own egg.
5.      Crack the eggs into the indented spots and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle a few drops of water over the tops of the eggs to keep them from drying out.
6.      Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are shiny–not runny, but still soft. Transfer to plates (no need if you’re using gratin dishes) and serve hot.

slightly adapted from Myra Kornfeld
poblanos (I made an extra and rubbed
mine with oil, but you don't have to)
roasted poblanos
peeling off the skin (after steaming in a bag)
stem and seeds removed
shucking corn
cutting kernels off the cobs
puréed corn
cooking the corn purée with a little butter
adding the grits
water and salt added
stirring in the cheese and poblanos (I cut my
poblanos a little smaller than the recipe says)
making a well in the polenta
eggs cracked into the indents
I ended up using three small gratin dishes plus one
larger one and only 5 eggs (and I left the poblano
out of two of them so they'd be more kid friendly)

You can see the indent for my egg was just
a little too small because some of the white
ran over to the side. Still delicious!

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