Creamy Polenta with Ratatouille & Poached Eggs

By October 6, 2015

This is definitely a dish to impress-- the warm, end-of-Summer flavors of eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini pair so well with the creamy sweet corn polenta and the (optional) soft-poached egg. Inspired by a recipe from the excellent vegetarian cookbook Feast by Sarah Copeland: "Polenta with Grilled Tomatoes and Zucchini"

 A few cups leftover ratatouille, or make it fresh:
Quick Ratatouille Ingredients
 Sunflower or olive oil
 Salt and Pepper
 1/2 eggplant, peeled and cut into small chunks
 1 large or 2 small zucchini, stem and blossom ends removed and chopped to medium chunks
 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (or 1 cup chopped tomatoes)
 3/4 cup tomato sauce
 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or honey
For Polenta
 1.5 cups cornmeal
 3 cups water & 1 tsp salt (or stock)
 1 cup milk or half-cup cream & half-cup stock (if doing dairy free, use stock or water)
 1/2 cup shaved or finely grated hard salty cheese, like Hull's Trace, Parmesan or Asiago (optional, but delicious)
 1 - 1.5 cups roasted or grilled corn kernels (optional)
For Poached Eggs
 1 egg per serving
 Water, just under a boil
 1 tbsp white vinegar
 pinch of salt
1

If you have leftover Ratatouille (maybe from Trevor's delicious ratatouille recipe), then just bring that back up to temp in a covered sauce pot, adding more tomato sauce if it's too dry. Otherwise, make a quick batch: bring your oven to 375. Toss eggplant cubes and the zucchini chunks in some oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft and browning. In a large, deep skillet, bring some oil up to heat and add in your tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium, medium-low and cover. Allow the tomatoes to pop and burst a bit. Add the tomato sauce and the balsamic to the tomatoes, and then add in the roasted eggplant and zucchini. Cook all together for 10-15 minutes. Minced fresh oregano, sliced garlic or basil would be great optional additions. Keep warm.

2

The cornmeal we carry is relatively coarse grain-- so for a recipe like polenta which requires a super fine grain, you'll want to sift it first. Sift a cup and a half of cornmeal through a fine mesh sifter over a bowl. Keep going until you have about 1 full cup in the bowl. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of salted water or stock to a boil and reduce heat so it's just bubbling.

3

Slowly, in a fine stream, start to pour in the sifted cornmeal, and use a wooden spoon to stir in one direction (clockwise or counter clockwise), making small, quick stirs. Break up any clumps that form by pressing them against the side of the pot with the the back of the wooden spoon. Keep stirring for about 15-20 minutes, and cover to keep warm. Add corn towards the end if using.

4

When everything else is ready, make your poached eggs. It would be helpful to have a second set of hands to serve up the polenta and ratatouille while you make these, so it's all ready at once. Bring a few inches of water & a pinch of salt to a boil in a large, wide pot, and then reduce the heat to just below a boil. Add in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and crack each egg into its own teacup or small bowl. Bring the edge of the cup right to the top level of the water and gently slide in the eggs, one at a time, giving them a bit of room. Start the clock for 3 minutes. Using a small wooden spoon, fold the whites on top of themselves, wrapping the yolk. When the timer goes off, and the whites are set, carefully lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon.

5

Okay, the final step where it all comes together: cover the ratatouille and turn off the heat while you poach the eggs. Turn off heat on polenta, and stir in the cream or milk, and cheese. Plate each dish by starting with a bed of creamy polenta, add a large ladleful of ratatouille on top, and then a poached egg.

Ingredients

 A few cups leftover ratatouille, or make it fresh:
Quick Ratatouille Ingredients
 Sunflower or olive oil
 Salt and Pepper
 1/2 eggplant, peeled and cut into small chunks
 1 large or 2 small zucchini, stem and blossom ends removed and chopped to medium chunks
 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (or 1 cup chopped tomatoes)
 3/4 cup tomato sauce
 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or honey
For Polenta
 1.5 cups cornmeal
 3 cups water & 1 tsp salt (or stock)
 1 cup milk or half-cup cream & half-cup stock (if doing dairy free, use stock or water)
 1/2 cup shaved or finely grated hard salty cheese, like Hull's Trace, Parmesan or Asiago (optional, but delicious)
 1 - 1.5 cups roasted or grilled corn kernels (optional)
For Poached Eggs
 1 egg per serving
 Water, just under a boil
 1 tbsp white vinegar
 pinch of salt

Directions

1

If you have leftover Ratatouille (maybe from Trevor's delicious ratatouille recipe), then just bring that back up to temp in a covered sauce pot, adding more tomato sauce if it's too dry. Otherwise, make a quick batch: bring your oven to 375. Toss eggplant cubes and the zucchini chunks in some oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft and browning. In a large, deep skillet, bring some oil up to heat and add in your tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium, medium-low and cover. Allow the tomatoes to pop and burst a bit. Add the tomato sauce and the balsamic to the tomatoes, and then add in the roasted eggplant and zucchini. Cook all together for 10-15 minutes. Minced fresh oregano, sliced garlic or basil would be great optional additions. Keep warm.

2

The cornmeal we carry is relatively coarse grain-- so for a recipe like polenta which requires a super fine grain, you'll want to sift it first. Sift a cup and a half of cornmeal through a fine mesh sifter over a bowl. Keep going until you have about 1 full cup in the bowl. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of salted water or stock to a boil and reduce heat so it's just bubbling.

3

Slowly, in a fine stream, start to pour in the sifted cornmeal, and use a wooden spoon to stir in one direction (clockwise or counter clockwise), making small, quick stirs. Break up any clumps that form by pressing them against the side of the pot with the the back of the wooden spoon. Keep stirring for about 15-20 minutes, and cover to keep warm. Add corn towards the end if using.

4

When everything else is ready, make your poached eggs. It would be helpful to have a second set of hands to serve up the polenta and ratatouille while you make these, so it's all ready at once. Bring a few inches of water & a pinch of salt to a boil in a large, wide pot, and then reduce the heat to just below a boil. Add in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and crack each egg into its own teacup or small bowl. Bring the edge of the cup right to the top level of the water and gently slide in the eggs, one at a time, giving them a bit of room. Start the clock for 3 minutes. Using a small wooden spoon, fold the whites on top of themselves, wrapping the yolk. When the timer goes off, and the whites are set, carefully lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon.

5

Okay, the final step where it all comes together: cover the ratatouille and turn off the heat while you poach the eggs. Turn off heat on polenta, and stir in the cream or milk, and cheese. Plate each dish by starting with a bed of creamy polenta, add a large ladleful of ratatouille on top, and then a poached egg.

Creamy Polenta with Ratatouille & Poached Eggs

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