For better or worse, my schedule, for the most part, is opposite of what most people's is. My afternoons and evenings tend to be the busiest and I don't have any free weekend time until mid-November. While I do love the irregularity of my schedule (it enables my days to be a little more flexible and it's kind of nice being able to run errands when no one else is) there is a downside to it too. I've learned that I don't get "true" weekends anymore; I'm always doing something for work and sometimes it's tough to remember to schedule in some downtime to allow for a little recharge. This week has been a particularly exciting one, we just took on a new client, we have four cooking classes in three day's time and are putting together proposals for some future catering jobs. In between all the menu planning, recipe writing and shopping, a leisurely mid-week brunch just seemed like the right thing to do.
The inspiration for this meal was based around some beautiful thickly cut bacon and polenta. The two seemed to be a natural pairing - the saltiness of the bacon and the gentile pop of the cornmeal are a welcome and hearty addition to the breakfast table. Just before serving, a nice smokey gouda was folded into the cornmeal-bacon mix to help get things a bit creamier and to bring out that smoky flavor from the bacon.
A poached egg was then placed on top of a heap of the soft polenta and eaten while everything was still hot. With a side of coffee, this was the perfect way to take just a little break before my day got started. If you'd like to recreate this simple dish at home, you can do so without the bacon, but why would you want to do that?
Bacon Polenta with Gouda and a Poached Egg
- 2 eggs
- 1 TBS white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2-3 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 2 TBS smoked gouda, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
In a pot, combine the polenta with enough water to totally cover it. (You'll want to keep some extra water on hand too.) Salt the water and simmer the polenta, adding a little more water once it gets absorbed. Add in the bacon and heat until the polenta is soft. Fold in the cheese and adjust seasoning.
In a shallow pan, bring water to a soft boil - little bubbles should be snaking up from the bottom. Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into separate small bowls and gently slide it into the pan. Heat the egg until the yolk is just set and then carefully scoop it out of the water and set aside.
To plate, put a scoop of polenta into a shallow bowl and top with poached egg and additional gouda (if desired)