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TIP OF THE DAY: Polenta For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Polenta, made from ground cornmeal, is a porridge that dates to ancient times. It is gluten free, although not a whole grain*.

This traditional Italian cornmeal style originated in Umbria in northern Italy, where it was a simple, hearty peasant food. In the U.S. and U.K., cooked polenta is known as as cornmeal mush.

Polenta has risen from its humble roots, and is now used by top chefs. Not only a versatile ingredient in Italian cuisine, it has crossed over to the world of fusion food.

Polenta is sold in two ways:

  • 1. Ground corn grits, the basic form of polenta. This is the corn version of Cream Of Wheat and Cream Of Rice. It cooks up like any porridge.
  • You can cooked conventional polenta for 45 minutes. Or, make instant polenta in 3 minutes.
  • 2. Precooked, ready-to-heat-and eat solid polenta. It’s sold in fat sausage-like tubes, plain and in flavors such as basil, garlic and sundried tomato.
  • When left to cool, polenta sets and becomes sliceable for grilling, frying or topping with sauces.
  • The slices are a firm base for just about anything: hors d’oeuvres, first courses and sides. Just pan fry or heat them in the microwave.
  • No refrigeration is needed until after the tube is opened.
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    WAYS TO SERVE POLENTA

    Polenta can be served at breakfast, lunch and dinner:

  • A base for poached or fried eggs.
  • An hors d’oeuvre, topped with a grilled shrimp, scallop, smoked salmon or salmon caviar.
  • A first course, topped with sautéed mushrooms and fresh herbs.
  • A side dish topped with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
  • Topped with melt cheese, for a snack or an appetizer.
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    POLENTA BOWLS

    Think of polenta bowls as you would any grain bowl or vegetable bowl: food that can be served at any time of the day.

    The following recipe tops creamy polenta with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, roasted vegetables and “jammy” soft boiled eggs.

    Use this template to create your own, custom, polenta bowl.
     

    RECIPE: CHEESY POLENTA BOWL WITH JAMMY EGGS, ROASTED TOMATOES & RED PEPPERS

    Jammy eggs have become popular with chefs in recent years. They’re an oxymoron: a well-cooked soft boiled egg.

    You can think of them as halfway between soft boiled and hard boiled. Here’s a recipe.

    The recipe for this yummy bowl of comfort food is courtesy of DeLallo, online purveyor of fine Italian products.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (9.2-ounce) box DeLallo Instant Polenta (or substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 jar (12-ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the cherry tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to coat and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring twice. Meanwhile…

    3. BRING a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the eggs into the water, one at a time. Cook the eggs for 6 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Transfer the cooked eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill.

    4. BRING the water, broth and butter to a boil in a medium-sized saucepot. Slowly whisk in the polenta, stirring continuously until it begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Heat the roasted red peppers for 45 seconds in the microwave.

    5. DIVIDE the polenta into two bowls. Top with the roasted tomatoes and onions and roasted red peppers.

    6. GENTLY CRACK the eggs all over and peel. Slice them in half and place 2 halves in each bowl. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired and serve.
     
     
    MORE POLENTA RECIPES

  • Ways To Serve Polenta
  • Things To Do With Polenta Slices
  • How To Make A Grain Bowl: A Template
  • What Is Polenta?
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    [1] For breakfast, lunch or dinner: a cheesy polenta bowl, topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted tomatoes, onions and red peppers (photo © DeLallo).

    Polenta & Beets
    [2] Creamy polenta with roasted beets as a first course. Here’s the recipe (photo © Blue Diamond).

    Chicken & Polenta
    [3] Pan-fried chicken breasts on a bed of creamy polenta (photo © Good Eggs).


    [4] Shrimp and sofrito with slices of solid herb polenta from a tube (photo © eMeals meal delivery service).


    [5] Instant polenta cooks up in three minutes (photo © DeLallo)

     
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    *The difference between cornmeal corn grits/polenta is that cornmeal is whole grain, with nothing removed. Corn grits/polenta is partially de-germed, so it is not considered whole grain. Here’s more about what makes a whole grain.

      




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