When I made a big batch of caramelized onions and fennel this week, I knew good things would follow. Poached eggs over crispy polenta is a favorite weeknight meal of mine. It’s comforting, healthy, and easy to prepare. When you add in a kale salad, some spring herbs and caramelized fennel, you have something special.
The creamy polenta tastes sinfully delicious when coated with soft egg yolk and the caramelized fennel mixture. A quick kale salad dressed with lemon juice brightens everything right up, and a sunny herb gremolata brings it home with bright and fragrant finish. We enjoyed this dish as a light lunch, but I can see it being served any time of day. I think it would make a particularly lovely brunch (mother’s day anyone?), of course mimosas are mandatory. Mimosas are fantastic. Champagne is totally appropriate for breakfast/brunch/dinner…..any time really in my book. Yay bubbles!
If you have the caramelized fennel prepared ahead of time, this meal will come together really quickly for you. The polenta (if you choose to make fresh) can be prepared the day before as well.
I love how versatile all of the ingredients in this recipe are. If you make a big batch of polenta for dinner, you can use the leftovers for breakfast the next day. Likewise, this spring herb gremolata can be used to adorn your dishes throughout the week. Try it on some roasted asparagus soup.
I like my yolks just barely set. If you want something a bit looser, you eggs will poach for only 5 minutes, instead of 7.
Recipe serves 2
- 4 fresh eggs (fresh eggs are best for poaching)
- Caramelized onions and fennel for garnish (click for method)
- Prepared polenta, store bought or homemade (cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (to fry polenta)
- 1 bunch kale (washed and cut into thin strips)
- Fresh lemon juice and oil to taste
- I used the reserved oil from frying my polenta to dress the kale. The hot oil wilts the kale slightly, which I found very pleasing.
For the polenta:
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 and 3/4 cup polenta/corn meal
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from 2 large lemons)
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (fine mince)
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme (fine mince)
- 1 small garlic clove (fine minced, or pressed)
For the polenta:
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet to medium heat.
- Fry polenta for 2 minutes on each side, or until crisp on the outside and soft in the middle
- Drain on a paper lined plate
For the eggs:
I used food network chef Alton Brown’s method for poaching eggs this time, and I found it to be very effective.
- Simply bring your water to a boil, and add 1 teaspoon vinegar per cup of water.
- When water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add eggs one at a time with a slotted spoon.
- This makes a much nicer shape than breaking the egg directly into the water
- Cover pot, remove from heat and set a timer for 5 minutes for a soft yolk and 7 minutes for a set yolk
- Removed eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper lined plate
- Lightly dress your kale with a spoonful of the reserved hot frying oil, lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Top crispy polenta with caramelized fennel, dressed kale
- Finish with the egg on the very top so that the dish is covered with egg yolk as you break it open
- Finish with herb gremolata
More egg dishes: