Date Night Dinner: A Creamy Polenta Dish

NGI-polenta-kale-bowl

Source: Alexandra Shytsman for Natural Gourmet Institute

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money. And it also doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of time in the kitchen. In this week’s installment of Date Night Dinner, a weekly column focusing on simple-to-prepare and flavorful dinners that will impress your partner (or any guest, for that matter), New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute shares a fantastic dish that you will make time and time again.

When you think of polenta, drab and bland might come to mind. But in this week’s Date Night Dinner, Natural Gourmet Institute transforms it into a velvety canvas for bacon, kale, and a decadent poached egg to work their wonder. In fact, this dish is so good, you’ll be glad it feels breakfast appropriate when you decide to remake it the next day.

Vegetarian? You don’t have to compromise on anything. Try this shiitake “bacon” in lieu of the real deal, and mix it in with the kale in step three.

Creamy Polenta with Kale and Poached Egg

This dish is comfort food at its finest: creamy polenta, vitamin K-packed kale, and a poached egg — a nutrient-dense meal that will keep you satisfied for hours. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs

Directions: In a medium pot, bring milk and water to a rapid simmer. Season with salt. While continually whisking, gradually add cornmeal. Turn heat down to low. Continue whisking until polenta has thickened enough that it doesn’t settle on the bottom of the pot when you stop stirring. Turn heat down to low, cover, and cook until polenta is creamy, a bit sweet, and no longer gritty, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent polenta from drying out.

Meanwhile, warm a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet. Add onions and cook until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add kale and toss until it is coated in fat and begins to wilt. Stir in cooked bacon.

To poach eggs, fill a medium pot halfway with water, bring to a slow steady simmer, and add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. Using a spoon, stir water to create a vortex. Working with 1 egg at a time, crack an egg into a small cup or bowl and gently pour into the spinning water. Continue gently swirling the water to prevent the white from spreading. Cook until the white is opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove egg, and repeat with remaining eggs.

To serve, place about 1 cup of polenta into a plate, and top with kale and egg.

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