I got pretty spoiled after a week of eating out in California. I also got spoiled weather-wise. San Francisco isn’t warm, but when the sun is shining you don’t notice that it’s cold.
When I got back to D.C. the other night, it was pouring down rain and freezing. I felt weird walking around the streets with a sunburned face.
Last night, I decided to make something something warming and comforting for my first dinner back home. I’ve been eyeing this spinach polenta recipe for a while now. When I saw it as I was scrolling through Pinterest, I knew it was the one. Plus, there was a poached egg on top…and I think we all know how I feel about those.
This recipe takes a little juggling, but if you plan ahead, it comes together quickly. You start by making the mushrooms and shallots, because you have to sauté them on the stove and then broil them in the oven. While they’re broiling (make sure to check in on them once and a while), start on the polenta and the poached egg.
The original blogger said to make the polenta and the poached egg at the same time, but I like to devote a lot of attention to poaching eggs. It’s a delicate process and there’s no worse feeling than looking down into a pot and seeing a storm cloud of egg whites and yolk.
So when the polenta is almost done, take it off the stove and start on the poached egg. You can also take the mushrooms out of the oven right before you do the egg.
This dinner was everything I wanted it to be: the thyme made my whole apartment smell like a spice rack, but in the best way possible. I’ll never turn down a poached egg. And the polenta was warm and thick; the perfect antidote to a windy D.C. night.
Here’s a good polenta-eating song with some cool synth. It reminds me of San Francisco and hiding from the cold.
Spinach Polenta with Poached Egg (slightly adapted from Happy Hearted Kitchen)
2 heaping cups mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 cups packed spinach leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup instant polenta
2 cups water, depending on how thick you like your polenta*
2 organic, free range eggs
water for poaching
salt and pepper
a few handfuls fresh parsley, roughly chopped
freshly grated lemon zest, for serving
First, get your mushrooms going. Turn your oven on to broil and add a drizzle of olive oil to an oven proof pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms. Stir in the thyme and cook until just tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, season with a little salt and pepper. Place under the broil to crisp up but be sure to keep on eye on them.
While the mushrooms are in the oven, bring two small pots of water to a boil (1 with enough water for your polenta, and one with enough water to poach your eggs). Feel free to season your polenta water with a dash of sea salt.
Polenta: once water is boiling, stir in the chopped spinach and polenta then reduce heat to low and cook stirring almost constantly. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. Add more water if it seems too dry, and before serving stir in a drizzle of olive oil or butter.
Poached eggs: reduce water to a low simmer, crack the egg into a small ramekin and then pour into simmering water. Leave to egg to cook. 3 – 3 1/2 minutes and its done. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on kitchen towel. Repeat for desired amount of eggs.
Assemble: Place polenta in the bottom of a bowl, top with the crispy mushroom shallot mixture and your poached egg. Grate some fresh lemon zest on top, add the parsley and some fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy!