Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

A special breakfast/brunch notion.

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Serving Size: 4

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

This is almost dumb-fancy, right?  Not what you make for a weekday breakfast, right?  Not what I normally serve up your way, right?

But a few years back, this is what was happening for Father’s Day brunch in our house. I posted it the night before, to see if my husband reads my blog.  He does not read my blog.  Sometimes he reads my blog.  But I get a pretty nice breakfast on Mother’s Day, and this is what headed Gary’s way for Pop’s Day.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

For a while now, there has been an ever-growing school of culinary thought that centers on the notion that anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top. I think this is hard to argue with.  Unless you are a vegan.  In which case, there are many reasons you should not be hanging out on this recipe page.

And the growth of a movement there’s always a moment where it tips and a backlash forms, but really, I’ve not lost interest in this idea, within reasonable parameters. I’m not tossing a fried egg on my brownies.  But, it’s a nice way to make a plain side dish into something more substantive, and the way a runny yolk enhances whatever lays beneath is quite appealing.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

This recipe is also an homage to my dream-that-will-never-die that my entire family will love polenta (and grits, almost the same thing)  as much as I do. It’s a work in progress.   What are wrong with these people?

And I know this dish looks a little long, and maybe complicated. It’s not. Read it through quickly and you’ll see.  It involves stirring and pan frying and that’s it.  Also you are going to make the polenta the night before, and just fry up the cakes in the morning.  But ALSO—don’t be a martyr or a whatever like I was if you’re not in the mood – there are beautiful tubes of polenta ready to slice and fry.  Do that.  I have no idea what I was trying to prove that morning.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

But make the polenta ahead if you actually want to go the long route like I did.  I’m not insane enough to image you have time to let polenta cook, cool, and then fry in the morning.  And I’m guessing Gary would have rather I used that time to fry a few strips of bacon.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes

Print

For the Polenta Cakes

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup stone ground polenta or grits
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Arugula Salad

  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, or other vinegar of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Eggs

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 4 pieces smoked salmon

1. Put the broth and milk in a heavy medium-sized pot and bring to a nice simmer over medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium and slowly sprinkle the polenta in, whisking constantly. Whisk frequently until the polenta has becomes like thick oatmeal consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper and stir to combine thoroughly.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

2. Grease a large plate and spoon the polenta into four circles on the baking sheet, patting them into patties about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until very stiff and cool throughout (you can cover the cakes and refrigerate for up to 2 days).

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

3. Toss the arugula with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

4. Heat a very large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Then place the four polenta cakes in the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Place a handful of arugula on each of four plates, and place a polenta cake next to the arugula.   Drape a piece of salmon over each cake.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

5. For the eggs, heat the butter in the same skillet, crack open the eggs into the skillet and cook them until they are as you like them. Place each egg on a salmon-draped polenta cake, season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Fried Eggs and Smoked Salmon over Polenta Cakes. Anything good gets better when you put a fried egg on top and this brunch dish is no exception.

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