Baked Eggs with Polenta with, of course, bacon

I used to think eating runny eggs was akin to slurping up snot. I was disgusted at “birdies in a nest” and couldn’t stand the sight of a half-cooked yolk breaking open and spilling all over the bread. I wouldn’t touch it. I preferred my eggs as firm omelets or hard-boiled. And then I grew up.

Now, while I still like the occassional firm, over-stuffed, cheesy-veggie omelet, I eat all kinds of eggs. Over-easy, sunny-side-up, baked, poached, you name it. I’ve even eaten raw-egg mayonnaise. Haven’t started drinking raw egg yet, but, come on, what do you think my name is, Gaston? I’d even have to admit, I love, love the taste of a partially cooked egg yolk broken over a slice of buttered French bread. Give me that and a cup of smooth pea soup, and I could die happy.

This baked egg recipe utilizes that ooey-gooey goodness of a yolk-soaked piece of bread, but substitutes polenta. It’s very easy to prepare and would be a fun brunch-party dish. You can make the polenta and fill the ramekins the night before; in the morning, you need only to crack the eggs into the dishes and bake.

The polenta is flavored with spring onions and (what else?) bacon because it is the perfect breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, maybe even dessert or cocktail-hour) food. If your trying to stay lean and fit, you could leave the bacon out and maybe add some spices for flavor (I’m thinking smoky paprika.) Or you could run an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow. Or shake your booty extra-hard at a dance-club this weekend (go easy on the bacon martini’s though, okay?)

However you make up for it, I really recommend you make this dish this weekend. It cheered me up… and I’ve been grumpy for weeks now!

Baked Eggs with Polenta & Bacon

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 5 slices thick bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 cup coarse-grind polenta
  • 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs

Method
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add green onions and cook until beginning to get tender. Add water or broth and polenta. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, lower heat and let polenta cook until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400Β°. Grease 4 ramekins (or cute little black cast-iron pots with lids). Stuff an equal amount of polenta in each ramekin, you should use about all of the polenta. Sprinkle 1 oz. of cheese over polenta. Crack an egg into each ramekin, being careful not to break the yolks—this works best with farm-fresh eggs. Bake in oven until whites of eggs are almost set, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cheese and green onions.

What food did you *hate* as a kid, but would go nuts for now??

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24 thoughts on “Baked Eggs with Polenta with, of course, bacon

  1. I could not eat onions as a kid. I picked them out of everything. Cooked, raw, fried—I did not like them. Now, I love everything onion. Raw, cooked, fried, mashed, sauteed, whip-stitched, roasted and baked.
    Now, I find myself picking the onions out, but only to enjoy them on their own, to savor them in their own coats. I hope I don’t develop a sensitivity to them as some people do when they grow older.
    If you are wondering what whip-stitched is, I don’t know, but I know I would like it…..

  2. I really love how your blog is coming together. You are doing a great job. Not that you weren’t before, but you know what I mean hopefully. And your photos… wow! Great job πŸ™‚

  3. Beautiful stuff! I’d like to know where these ramekins came from … As to what I couldn’t stand as a kid; Nothing. That’s why mom always had to buy my pants in a “husky” size. πŸ˜€

  4. mmmmKay.

    This dish is just not fair! I feel like a child looking at this.

    Now, I am compelled to make this. I only hope that I can make it as well as you have.

    That is too yum. I give it 5 sleepies. On a scale of 1 to 5, how sleepy will you be after eating the dish. This dish you display here would allow me to return to a snooze after consumption. And that is a good thing!

    It also has spawned an idea of how to use my remaining polenta.

    Great post.

  5. Oooh, how comforting. Nice recipe. As for childhood foods–I could never stand “tomato things” (ie, pieces of skin etc) on pizza or in sauces, they always had to be fully ground into a paste. Of course now I can eat tomatoes like apples!

  6. Amanda says:

    Eggplant. I was freaking terrified of eggplant when I was young. I mean, was it ok to eat PURPLE things? But now, I am an eggplant fiend. It’s all I crave.

  7. I *loathed* both onions and lentils. Now I love lentils, and can’t imagine a dish that onions can’t improve.

    The foodblogosphere is reading my mind this week – I’ve been wating to make eggs en cocotte, have planned polenta for dinner this week and will have leftovers, and have recently declared smoked paprika to be the official spice of winter 2007-8.

  8. Strangely, I LOATHE eating eggs but love to make them. I’ve been wanting to try baked eggs for ages now and now have the perfect recipe to try them with. The pictures are fantastic! Where did you find those little skillel-like ramekins? They’re adorable.

  9. My husband is usually the breakfast maker, but I want to make some of these!!

    I didn’t like sweet potatoes as a kid, but now I crave them weekly!! I also didn’t like enchiladas for some reason, but I make them all of the time now!

  10. geedavid says:

    I love it. I grew up eating this but it was called ‘put my egg on TOP of the grits.’

    I was especially delighted when the Food Channel ?? show “Good Eats” featured a comparison of grits and polenta. I had been claming this for a long time and finally found a credible advocate. The difference for some is that the meal is more white and coarse for ‘typical’ grits and yellow and medium for ‘typical’ polenta.

    There have been lots of folks adding cheese, shrimp, etc. to grits for a long time and the watery mess I have found in chains like “Cracker Barrel” would make me run from the sight if not the taste.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  11. wow, your blog is just looking so great!

    Hmm…foods I hated as a kid? Tomato, onion, mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, fish, any olives except canned black ones, any cheese but cheddar….i could go on and on. My eating habits have changed so much in the last 10-12 years that it’s almost laughable what I eat now that I never used to touch. Squid! Octopus! Scallops!

  12. Good gracious that looks good! I am sitting at my desk waiting to be able to go home and make dinner, and now I see this! Totally not fair, I was hungry to start, now I am famished and hungry for eggs and cheese. Mmmmm.

  13. Eydie: I never had a problem with onions and I just couldn’t get enough of caramelized onions and potatoes as a kid. I bet I could find some interesting onion recipes in those cookbooks you sent me… and again… THANK YOU!!! Also, I googled “whip-stitched” and the first thing to come up is a website for a heavy metal band, haha!! Don’t think I’d want onions cooked their way!! πŸ™‚

    Kristen: Thank you so much! I totally know what you mean and appreciate it more than words!!

    Claudia: It is, you gotta try it!!

    Luna: You were my kind of kid!! I didn’t dislike much else… was known as the garbage disposal around my house (we didn’t have a garbage disposal or a dog, so I got the job.)

    Donald: I *love* the sleepies scale! And the ramekins are from WalMart (I know, I know, I try not to shop there because they enslave little children to make my cookware, but I’m poor!) They were in a pack of 2 and only cost 10 dollars!!

    Jonathan: I’ve been doing the eat bacon and forget about cardio thing for years, it’s been working out for me quite well.

    Judy: Brussel sprouts have got to be the hardest vegetable there is to get used to!

    Amanda: I never liked eggplant much either… though I have to admit I’m still not ga-ga for it.

    B: It would taste great without the bacon too… maybe even throw in some caramelized onions?

    Michelle: The blog world moves in mysterious ways sometimes, I’m always seeing posts of foods that are on my to-do list! Hope you enjoy it!

    Butta: You could make one of the ramekins without eggs if you wanted… maybe a dollop of creme fraiche on top? And WalMart… cheap and cute!

    Geedavid: Funnily, I like my polenta coarse and yellow… maybe I’m a mix of both worlds (I was born in the south, but I’m mostly Italian!) Thanks for stopping by!

    Meghan: Thank you!! πŸ™‚

    Kate: Thanks so much, I’m so happy the blog is looking noticeably cooler!! Hehe. And oh god, my seafood tastes have changed SO much!!

    Maria: Oh, I know that feeling! Sometimes I just can’t bear to see foodblogs at the office, I get too hungry! Thanks for checking out the blog though!!!

    B- Thanks, I’m starting to go back to normal now, thank god!

  14. This looks absolutely amazing! I was working at Sur La Table last night and one of the dishes we made was just a simple polenta with parmesan cheese. Polenta is so versatile!

    One time I just poured some of it in an 8×8 dish, let it harden for a bit, layered w/roasted peppers, some cheese, etc, then repeated and made it into a lasagna.

  15. joejhorn says:

    I can’t wait to test out your recipe. I also just did a version of baked eggs with bacon and heavy cream. Was thinking about doing it again with cheese on top and I just stumbled onto you blog. Nice work. Looking forward to trying them out. Here is my site if you are interested.

    http://cookingquest.wordpress.com

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