Sunny Eggs, Crispy Polenta & Creamy Mushrooms
The culinary leaders of the free world – and on this the kitchens of both Republican and Democratic White Houses agree, so who am I to argue – particularly enjoy pairing their big, rich Chards with either corn or scallops. I know this because, as I explained in yesterday’s post, one of my favorite vintners of kick-ass Chard supplies the very same wine that I buy to the White House Ombudsman, and the official Big Cheese menus resultant are posted all over the tasting room walls.
Wild scallops are not hard to find, but while I adore scallops, my wife inexplicably doesn’t; she loves seafood, but not shell fish, which strikes me as particularly peculiar – it’s a little like saying that you love meat but not pork. Come to think, she won’t eat pork either, so maybe she inherited some deeply entrenched, hard-wired Jewish gene just can’t kick kosher? In any case, I wanted to make something really easy and kid-friendly, and I still had leftover polenta from a recent edition of “Just Three Ingredients”, so why press my luck? Just go with the corn, try to do it with only three ingredients again, and make sure to chill the Chard.
Our family shares a love of breakfast-for-dinner, and our friends at Wyeth Acres had just delivered some just-laid eggs, so all I had to do was manufacture an excuse for a vegetable – the earthy, meaty, sweet taste of sauteed mushrooms, softened with a little cream and seasoned, sounded just right, what with the damp weather, the rich wine, and my limited prep time… This turned out to be a really easy recipe as well as a good way to leverage leftovers; the only downside is the number of pans, but I think you could quite easily do the polenta first, then the mushrooms, hold them both, and then finish with the eggs, all in one pan.
Sunny Eggs with Crispy Polenta and a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
1. Get your pans hot. Then, rewind time and spread the leftover polenta from another night’s dinner onto a lightly oiled sheet tray and stick it in the fridge (yes, I actually did this the other night – it’s second nature now, I almost always double the polenta recipe specifically so I can do this; the possibilities are endless, the effort minimal, and I get a freebie meal for the kiddos.) Carefully turn the sheet of polenta onto a cutting board and cut in triangles (or squares, or use a cookie cutter for fun shapes – the kids will love it).
2. Cook the polenta, the very flat tray-side down, in a little butter or olive oil, over medium-low heat, until it forms a crunchy, golden-brown crust. This can take some time – better to cook over lower than higher heat.
3. While the polenta is cooking, wash and thinly slice a bunch of mushrooms. I used criminis (I like the vaguely truffle-like quality of criminis with the corn and eggs, but anything, or even a mix, would be great). Sautee with a little butter over medium heat until the ‘shrooms have lost most of their volume, their water is gone, and they start to color up. Season liberally with salt and pepper. If this wasn’t “Just Three” and I still didn’t need to use eggs, I’d say toss a teaspoon or so of fresh thyme leaves in with them – thyme and mushrooms do amazing things for one another; I’ll stick to the rules, but if you have thyme in your garden, use it.
4. While all this is going on – it sounds like a lot happening at the same time, but it is all really easy stuff – pour the eggs, two by two, into small nonstick pans along with a little butter and a few drops of water. Cover with foil and cook over very low heat.
5. When the polenta is done and the eggs are nearly so, deglaze the mushrooms with a few tablespoons of heavy cream (again, if I had another ingredient, I’d use a little white wine first, cook it off, and then add the cream). As soon as the cream bubbles and begins to thicken, plate and serve.