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Playing Polenta with Mushrooms, Poached Eggs and Mixed Green Salad


For the Polenta:
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups polenta, coarse yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Acacia honey
  • About 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
For the Tipsy Mushrooms:
  • For the Tipsy Mushrooms:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cremini and hen-of-the-woods or shitake, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • About 1/2 cup sherry or Marsala
For the Poached Eggs:
  • For the Poached Eggs: 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 6 to 8 large eggs, 1 per person
For the Salad:
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 head frisée, root removed and separated
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper


Serves: 6


In medium pot, bring stock and milk to a low, rolling boil and whisk in a single direction while pouring polenta in slowly. Add pepper and a few grates of nutmeg, and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to a simmer to keep the mix at a delayed bubble, a burp every 2 seconds or so. Cook 45 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes or so. Stir in butter, honey and cheese, and remove from heat; season with salt to taste. Keep warm in a bain marie while you cook the mushrooms and make the salad.
To make a Bain Marie, use a pot that is wide enough to fit your polenta pot comfortably inside it, a wide pan a few inches deep will do. Place about 3/4 inch of water in the wider pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer and keep simmering over medium-low flame, adding more water if necessary until ready to serve.

For the mushrooms, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter into oil, add mushrooms and brown. Add thyme, salt, pepper, shallots and garlic, and stir 2-3 minutes more. Add sherry or Marsala and reduce until almost evaporated. 
For the eggs, heat 3 inches or so of water in a deep skillet with the vinegar and bring to low, rolling simmer. Crack each egg into a ramekin then slide gently into water. Cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
For the salad, combine greens and dress with juice of 1 lemon and  EVOO, season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, place a pile of polenta on one side of a plate and nest the poached egg in the polenta. Scatter mushrooms to one side and a small pile of greens on the opposite side of the plate.