Creamy Polenta with Roasted Broccoli, Poached Eggs, and Garden Pesto

SERVES 4

This recipe taken from our Sourcebook is great for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. If corncobs aren’t on hand to make the broth, you can always substitute vegetable broth or water. But I invite you to try the corncob broth. It’s sweet, golden, and adds just the right touch to the creamy polenta.

FOR THE CORNCOB BROTH:

  • 12 corncobs (kernels removed)
  • 14 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Handful of fresh parsley 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground sea salt

FOR THE BROCCOLI:

  • 1 12 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

FOR THE POLENTA:

  • 4 cups corncob broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • Garden pesto (see page 172), for serving
  • Chopped herbs, for serving (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmesan, for serving (optional)
  • Lacto-fermented hot sauce (see page 115)

  1. To make the corncob broth, put the corncobs, peppercorns, parsley, and bay leaf in a large stockpot and add enough water to cover, about 14 cups. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain into a bowl and season with salt. use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use. You should have about 6 cups; reserve 4 cups for the polenta.

  2. To make the broccoli, preheat the oven to 400°f. on a large sheet pan, arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer. drizzle with the olive
    oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked and slightly browned. remove from the oven.

  3. To make the polenta, bring the reserved corncob broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt. While whisking gently, pour the polenta into the boiling broth in a steady stream. Whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking often, until thickened but still creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.

  4. To finish, crack the eggs into a small plate or bowl, and bring a saucepan of water filled at least 2 to 3 inches deep to a simmer. tip the eggs into the pan. The yolks should follow the whites. Cook for 2 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Leave the pan for 8 to 10 minutes. Lift each egg out with a slotted spoon and drain.

  5. To serve, spoon some of the creamy polenta into bowls, and then add some of the roasted broccoli, a poached egg, and some pesto. Top with fresh herbs and parmesan (if using). For a little added kick, add some lacto-fermented hot sauce.

T I P : The sweet corncob broth can be used to add flavor to soups, polenta, or any recipe calling for vegetable broth. During the summer months, when my family eats a lot of corn, I freeze the cobs. When I have enough, I make a big batch of this broth and freeze it for later use.

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