Baked Egg with Polenta Fritters, Roast Tomatoes and Fried Chicken

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Published on: October 2, 2011
 

I’m not entirely sure where the idea for this recipe came from.  I didn’t have anything listed for the Saturday in my menu so I had to come up with something there and then.  As it happened my new cookbook arrived “How to cook like a Top Chef” (one of my favourite shows).  In it there was a list of six ways to cook an egg, one of which was baked egg.  There wasn’t a recipe for it, just an example of what can be done with an egg.  I also spotted that I had a full bag of Polenta sitting in the cupboard that I hadn’t touched in ages.  I had always wanted to try making Polenta fritters but never had the time to try it.  I spotted it a long time back, I think it was in one of Gordon Ramsey’s recipes for pork fillet and polenta fritters… I can’t remember.  Initially I thought of doing something quick, pasta with roast tomatoes and chicken or chorizo but it was a Saturday, I didn’t have anything else planned and I really wanted to use up that Polenta!

I was thinking of Egg, Polenta and a Chicken salad but I thought that would be too dry.  Roasted tomatoes would give the whole dish more moisture and a little more flavour than a salad.  I’ve only used Polenta twice before, the first time I used the instant Polenta and pretty much hated it as did my wife.  I gave it a second chance, this time buying a proper bag of coarse Polenta maize.  It turned out much better, although still not to my wife’s satisfaction.  This time, I thought I would do something different and make Polenta fritters so after a quick search on the internet I had a few ideas on how to make it.  Unfortunately there seems to be quite a few budding chefs out there that have totally different ideas on how to do it!  I largely ended up guessing how it should be done, but I was pleased with the results (and the wife loved it, so it definitely worked out).  I also had to guess how eggs were supposed to be baked but I reckoned I could work that one out myself, after all… it’s only baking an egg?

Most of the other ingredients I had leftover from the other recipes I had done this week.  Spring onions, cilantro, etc.  A walk round to the local Tesco express got me the rest of what I thought I would need – parma ham, tomatoes, parmesan and some chicken.

 

Ingredients (Serves 2-4):

For the Pan:

300g Chicken Fillets

250g Polenta

50g Parmesan Cheese

Olive Oil (for frying)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

For the Oven:

16 vine ripened Tomatoes

4 Eggs

2 Slices of Parma Ham

1 Spring Onion

Unsalted Butter

Handful of Greek Basil

Cilantro

 

Method:

1.  Preheat the Oven to 190C.  Fill a large saucepan with 1 litre of salted water and bring to the boil.

2.  Once the water is at a full boil, take it off the heat and gradually sprinkle in the Polenta.  Stir constantly to prevent any lumps forming.

3.  Return the polenta to a medium heat and continue stirring until the water has been completely absorbed by the polenta.  Add some salt, pepper, the parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

4.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lightly oil with extra virgin olive oil.  Pour the polenta on to the oiled paper.

5.  Using a palate knife, spread the polenta evenly across the baking tray.  It helps to keep the palate knife wet, a glass of cold water to dip the knife into works well.

6.  Let the polenta settle and cool a little, then cut into rounds using a steel ring or cookie cutter – I ended up using a ramekin.  The trick here is to cut the polenta while it is cool enough to hold its shape but warm enough so that the spare polenta can be moulded back together to allow you to use the rest of it.  If you find the reconstituted polenta just falls apart once you cut it, it has cooled too much and is no longer any use.

7.  Place the polenta rounds in the fridge for at least 15mins.

8.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan and heat until it shimmers.  Then add in a few of the polenta rounds.  Fry until crispy, if they start to stick add more oil. Turn once they have become golden and crispy.  Repeat for the other side and then allow them dry on some kitchen roll.

9.  Once all the polenta has been fried, you can start on the chicken.  Make sure you take it out of the fridge for a good 10-15mins before hand.  Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and then fry in the same oil as used for the polenta.

10.  Season the other side of the chicken and turn once the underside becomes crispy.  Fry until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

11.  Serve with the chicken and roasted tomatoes on top of the polenta rounds.

 

Egg and Tomatoes:

1.  Butter four ramekins using the unsalted butter.  Chop up the spring onion.

2.  Crack an egg into each of the ramekins, sprinkle a little salt and pepper along with some spring onion.

3.  Put the ramekins into the oven and baked until the whites set (about 10-15mins)

4.  Cut the tomatoes into halves (or quarters if the tomatoes are large) and spread on a baking tray.  Chop up the basil.

5.  Drizzle the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.  Spread the basil over the tomatoes.

6.  Put the tray of tomatoes in to the oven and bake for 5-10mins, as long as the tomatoes keep their shape.

7.  Tear some parma ham and place on top of the eggs.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Tips:

If you find that the polenta falls apart whenever it starts to go crispy on the outside they need more time in the fridge.  The reconstituted rounds of polenta are more prone to this as they won’t bind together as well as the first batch.

This could be made into a vegetarian friendly meal fairly easily (so long as you don’t mind eggs).  Just replace the chicken with a salad.



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