Updated: Apr 16
I must say, I've been pretty appalling with updating my blog ever since the official launch last week but rest assured, I have been doing a lot of cooking in the meantime! This one is actually a new recipe that I honestly can't wait for you to try. I've never cooked polenta before but have been meaning to learn ever since my first bite into a crispy fried chunky polenta chip. Something about the grainy, buttery, corn flavours really delighted me with its subtlety.
In celebration of my new blog came the need to try a new recipe, and this one in particular is created by Araxi, a fine dining restaurant on Whiltler's famous ski slopes. The combination of polenta, braised greens and cheese sauce just begged me to have a crack at this recipe, especially now during the chilly days of Melbourne's winter. How could i honestly say no?
So a week ago from today, I had a set the perfect dinner date with a good friend to catch-up over a delicious home cooked meal paired with Game of Throne's season finale. It just so happens that my friend is a vegetarian which then made this cook an even better challenge; cook a new recipe that caters to vegetarians. I must say, the meal turned out so good that I actually made this twice this week! The recipe you'll find below is one that I had tweaked to suit a breakfast and my personal pallet. It's extremely rare that I will cook the same dish twice in a week but the combination of fried polenta and a double cream sauce just had me at hello.
Nonetheless, there were 2 things about this recipe that I really liked: 1) Learning how to cook with polenta, which is surprisingly extremely easy and flexible! Polenta takes shape and volume as soon as it reacts with a diary and water mixture. Plus, once it cools down, it sets shape to a mould so simply which means that you can transform it to any shape or size. 2) The flexibility to transform the polenta cakes and cheese sauce from a dinner meal to a breakfast dish. Dress it up or dress it down, these two elements make the best of friends that all you have to worry about is which friends you would like to pair it with to sit on the dish. Today, it was mushrooms, spinach and a poached egg. And seeing that the dish was already going to be so rich and creamy, I did not want to cook butter mushrooms as it would just be complete overkill. So, this recipe actually cooks the mushroom with some white wine vinegar for some sharpness and balance.
Polenta Parmesan Cakes with Poached Egg and a Double Cheese Sauce Recipe Type: Breakfast Cuisine: Italian Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins Total time: 1 hour 50 mins Serves: 4
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 cup (170ml) instant polenta
100g salted butter, chopped into cubes
1 1/4 cups (100g) grated parmesan
DOUBLE CHEESE SAUCE
200ml thickened cream
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
80 soft goats cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
1/2 cup of vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bunch English spanish, stalks trimmed
400g button mushrooms
2 tbs of white wine vinegar
2 tbs chopped dill
Grease and line a 28cm x 18cm baking dish. Place milk and 11/2 cups wate in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
Add polenta, whisking to combine, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes until thick. Add butter and 1/2 cup parmesan, then season and stir until combined, Pour into prepared dish and chill for 1 hour to set.
Meanwhile, combine cream, thyme and bay leaf in a saucepan over medium-high heat, Bring to just below boiling point, then remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes to infuse. Remove theme and bay leaf, whisk in goat's cheese and remaining 3/4 cup parmesan until smoooth. Season. Set aside to cool.
Using a 7cm round cutter, cut 7 rounds from polenta. Heat 2 tbs oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. In batches, fry polenta rounds, turning, for 4-5 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Heat remaining 2 tbs oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add garlic for 1 minute, then add in the spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes or until wilted. Set aside.
Using the same pan, add 2 tbs oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes or until wilted. Add the white wine vinegar and let the mushrooms cook down until there is no more liquid left in the pan. Season and set aside.
Boil 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan and mix in 1/2 cup of vinegar. Using a wooden spoon, make a whirlpool in the water. Crack your eggs one by one into the pot. Let the eggs cook for 5 minutes and then remove.
To serve, top the polenta rounds with spinach and stack. Place the poached egg on the top and the mushrooms to the side of your stack. Using a spoon, pour the cheese sauce from the top of the egg and let it run down the stack and around the mushrooms. Topped with chopped dill and season.