Brunch food can take many forms, from savory to sweet and everything in between. Pretty much anything goes, right? Just serve it between 10 and 2 on Sunday with a Bloody Mary on the side, and you can call it “brunch.” I even convinced a woman in the elevator at work on her way to grab a late breakfast in our cafeteria (or early lunch – she didn’t care – she was just hungry!) that she could eat whatever she wanted because it was 10:45, and thus, brunch. Unfortunately, there was not a Bloody Mary to be found. Add this dish to your list of brunch ideas!
Polenta is a corn meal dish that comes in two forms. Prepared and formed into a log (as used and shown here), it is a great shortcut for more complex dishes. The corn meal can also be made in to a creamier dish very similar to grits (with just a small difference with the grains used). Polenta is good for you, filling, and gluten free – a great way to start your day. If you are using a recipe with polenta, make sure you are sure which type you are supposed to use!
No matter what you are serving for brunch, this little ditty can be served alongside. Or try a top-your-own polenta bite bar (or, less extravagant, a plate with some toppings, to pass around the table). Pictured here, the polenta round is topped with egg white, sweet potato hash, and pico. Other ideas you can use: finely chopped sauteed mushrooms and onions, shredded cheddar cheese, finely diced avocado, crumbled bacon, and/or a dollop of pesto.
– log of polenta, sliced in to 1/4″ rounds
– egg whites, separated from yolks
– one sweet potato, peeled and shredded
– pico de gallo
How do I make it?
- There are three main components: polenta, egg, and sweet potato.
- Polenta: Heat a large nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat; when hot, spray with cooking spray. Place a few polenta rounds in the skillet and heat until they start to brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on them). Flip (spray the pan again while the polenta is off the surface, if necessary), and cook a few minutes more, just enough to brown the flipside. Remove the polenta from the pan. Repeat, depending on how many you plan to make.
- Egg: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat; when hot, spray with cooking spray. To separate the egg whites, crack each egg above a small bowl, pouring the yolk back and forth from one half of the shell to the other and letting the white fall in to the bowl (discard the yolk and shell). Gently add enough egg whites to cover the bottom of the preheated pan (anywhere from 2-4, depending on your pan). Let it cook until set (do not scramble). This should be a minute or two – keep an eye on it. Flip and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove the egg white to a cutting board, and repeat with more egg whites. When cooked, stack the egg whites on the cutting board, and using a round cookie cutter smaller than the diameter of the polenta rounds, make small egg white circles.
- Sweet Potato: Heat the large nonstick skillet again over high heat, and add a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add about half the shredded sweet potato, and cook, stirring after it starts to brown, until it softens and starts to crsip.
- Stack the polenta, then egg white, then sweet potato hash. Top with pico. Serve on small plates as a brunch “appetizer,” or let me know how the “polenta bar” goes for you!