“This rustic Italian dish feeds body and soul. Creamy polenta is comforting and filling and perfectly complemented by earthy vinegary braised mustard greens and a poached egg. I like to top everything off with a touch of heat; chile oil, made with the well balanced spicy, fruity, smoky, salty Calabrian long chile pepper, does the trick.”
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup polenta or stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 pounds mustard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 poached eggs
- Chile Oil (recipe follows)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup stemmed and finely chopped fresh Tutto Calabria hot, long chile peppers or hot cherry peppers
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cook the polenta: Bring 3 cups cold water, the milk, salt and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta; whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until tender and thickened but still creamy, about 30 minutes, adding more water as needed if the mixture seems too dry. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.
Meanwhile, make the braised greens: Heat the oil in a large high-sided sauté pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the greens, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in 1 cup water, cover, and cook until wilted and soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid during the last 5 minutes to cook off any additional liquid. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.
To serve, spoon some of the polenta into bowls, top with some of the greens and a poached egg per bowl. Drizzle with the chile oil and garnish with the chopped parsley.
For the Chile Oil: Combine the chopped chiles, oil and salt in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.