Rush-Hour Gourmet

I see this as a meal that can take me back to Italy, with components that are quickly assembled on the plate: the yolk of a poached egg spilling onto quickly cooked polenta and mingling with drizzled olive oil, caramelized radicchio, and a thick slice of feta.

 

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JULIA EWAN / Washington Post

Polenta With Poached Egg, Feta and Radicchio

4 servings

5 to 7 ounces feta cheese (in a block)

Olive oil

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 or 2 small heads radicchio

Sea salt flakes

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons low-fat milk, plus more as needed

1 cup quick-cooking polenta

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt

Dash distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar

4 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet over high heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Place the block of feta on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, then sprinkle with the crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and season lightly with black pepper. Wrap the foil loosely around the feta. Roast for 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, cut the radicchio head (or heads) into quarters; remove loose outer leaves. Drizzle the cut sides with oil, then sprinkle lightly with the salt flakes and black pepper. Add to the heated pan or skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, turning as needed to brown. Transfer to a plate; cover to keep warm.

4. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until bubbles form at the edges. Reduce the heat to medium-low; gradually whisk in the polenta and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring. Add the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring to incorporate. Taste and add salt, if needed. Remove from the heat; add milk if the polenta is too firm for your liking.

5. Fill a medium saucepan with water; add the vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Carefully crack each egg into a small cup.

6. Once the water is boiling, stir it to create a gentle whirlpool; this will help shape the eggs nicely. Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully slide the eggs into the water in the middle of the whirlpool one at a time; adjust the heat so the water is barely bubbling at the edges. Cook for 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl.

7. Divide the polenta among plates. Cut equal portions of the feta and place on top of the polenta, then nestle some grilled radicchio and a poached egg on each, slightly breaking the egg yolk so it runs. Drizzle each serving with oil; serve immediately.

 

- Adapted from The Modern Vegetarian (Kyle, 2009).

 

Per serving: 463 calories, 20 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 25 grams fat, 279 milligrams cholesterol, 740 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.