PARMESAN POLENTA WITH POACHED EGG AND SPINACH

I shared last week that I’m trying to cut down on my mid-week default “I’m tired, let’s order in”. Not only have I been experimenting with satisfying those take away cravings at home with recipes like my Shrimp Pad Thai, I have also been looking for healthy and easy recipes to keep me on track with this January goal.

Truthfully half the battle is not waiting to spend an hour in the kitchen…. OKAY truthfully the battle is all about not wanting to do dishes. The cooking isn’t the tough part for me (obviously I write a food blog), it is the dishes that end up in the sink afterwards.

One of my favorite things about this healthy, easy, fast recipe is that I only use two pots to cook a dinner that is layered with amazing flavors! Just look at the gorgeousness as I dive into my poached egg. Heaven!!

egg polenta 4
Now before you start saying “Meaghan there is nothing easy about poaching an egg or making polenta” let’s just bust those two myths.

I’m not sure who started this myth that polenta was hard or exotic. But it is neither. Polenta was a staple of diets in Northern Italy for centuries, cheap and easy to make.

To guarantee your success you just to know one magic ratio 1:5 – 1 part polenta to 5 parts liquid. That’s all. Nothing to be intimidated by, it doesn’t require any more skill than stirring I promise! Personally I bring the water to a boil, and then whisk in the polenta as you pour it into the water. For this recipe once whisked in, I remove the pot from the heat to cooking thickening while I poach the eggs.

If you’d like more of a polenta lesson, Serious Eats has a great overview!

Hopefully I’ve convinced you polenta is easy, now on the tricky part convincing you poaching an egg is easy…

Take a deep breath, and look at that gorgeous stream of yoke above… don’t you want that for dinner?! Yes, yes you do!

First thing is to accept your poached eggs will all probably look different. No need to worry about perfection when poaching an egg.

There are a few tips to set you up for success. One is the idea of using fresh eggs… I struggle with this one, really do we know how fresh our eggs are?? But the theory is the fresher the egg, the easier it will poach; the older your egg, the more wispies in the water. A way to fight the wispies in the water, is to add a spoonful of vinegar. This helps the egg whites to coagulate quicker.

READY, SET… POACH!
Bring your pot of water (with a tablespoon of vinegar added) to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Crack the egg into a small measuring cup, preferably one with a long handle. This will help you ease the egg into the water.

Use the measuring cup to carefully lower the egg into the water and then tip it out into the water.

Cook the egg of 4 minutes for a firm white and ooey-gooey perfect runny yoke. Of course this is up to you!

Carefully remove with a slotted spoon. Season and serve.

What do you think? Are you ready?? I think you are! But if you are still a little nervous or have distractions in the kitchen (little ones, husbands, etc.) there are lots of egg poaching tools to help you.

This recipe is really all about timing. Once you find your rhythm with cooking the polenta and poaching the eggs, it gets easier and easier. Hope you enjoy this healthy, easy dinner at home.

PARMESAN POLENTA WITH POACHED EGG AND SPINACH

Healthy, easy weeknight dinner your whole family will love! Recipe adapted from self.com.
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 5 cups water
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup Parmesan, grated
  • ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 2 slices prosciutto8 eggs
  • Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Place prosciutto on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp. Once cooked set aside.
  • In a medium sized pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in polenta in a steady stream. Then turn the heat off, add the spinach, and cover with a lid to keep warm.
  • In a large saucepan, boil about 4 cups water; reduce to a simmer. Swirl water with a spoon, then add eggs (cook 2 eggs at a time depending on the size of your pot). Cook until whites are set and yolks are runny, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain.
  • To assemble, stir the spinach and polenta adding in ¼ cup of Parmesan and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Divide the polenta spinach mixture between 4 bowls, then top with cherry tomatoes. Place two eggs in each bowl on top of polenta, then sprinkle with crumbled crisp prosciutto, remaining parmesan and fresh parsley.

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