Monday, September 10, 2007

Polenta, Spinach and Baked Eggs

4 cups good veggie broth
1 cup dry polenta (Whole Foods had great stuff in bulk) or stone-ground yellow cornmeal (don’t use white!)
½ to 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar (optional, but it really is better)

Bring broth to a boil in medium saucepan (I prefer non-stick and a size that allows for the expansion and bubbling of the polenta). Slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the boiling broth (if you dump, it will clump). Over medium heat, whisk the polenta often (some say the stirring should be constant but I’ve never ever done that), esp. as it bubbles and thickens. You are done when it is good and thick and about 25-30 minutes of stirring have passed. Stir in salt and remove from heat. Stir the cheese (if you’re using it) in once it is off the heat.

The rest of the dish:
2 bags or about 2 pounds of fresh spinach (I suppose you could use a couple of packages of frozen spinach too, but I haven’t tried it – do thaw and drain it first)
4 large eggs

Wash and stem the spinach. Throw the wet spinach in a pot and steam until it is just bright green. Drain and chop coarsely. Put spinach in the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch baking dish. Spread hot polenta over the top of the spinach. Make four wells in the polenta and carefully crack an egg into each indentation. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Bake (uncovered) in a pre-heated 350 degree over until whites have set and yolks are firm (or however you like your eggs!). Note: baked eggs are deceptively shiny even when they are well cooked. Give them a little poke to see how well they are really setting up. I like my eggs well-done so I tend to leave this in the oven for 15-20 minutes. People who like eggs with a little more jiggle should be checking them at 8 minutes.

From Georgina (based on a recipe in Diana Shaw’s The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook) (serves four)

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