This is a great “breakfast for dinner” dish! It can be substituted with anything you like based on availability and preference.
– Chef Carrie Nahabedian, Naha Restaurant
1 1/2 C white corn meal
4 C water
4 oz soft butter
1/2 C heavy cream
8 oz. Sofia goat cheese or similar
salt and cracked black pepper
1 lb. watercress
1/2 lb. La Quercia prosciutto or similar, sliced thin
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix the corn meal with 2 cups of cold water. Bring the other 2 cups of water to a boil, add ½ of the butter and season with salt and pepper. Add in the white corn meal. Stir Stir and Stir! This dish requires a good amount of energy and love! Make sure you use a heavy wooden spoon or a wooden spoon with a blade flat end so you can reach all corners of the pot. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Then add the cream. Add ½ of the goat cheese. If necessary, you can make the polenta richer and add more butter. Taste again and adjust seasoning. Keep warm with a buttered piece of wax paper on top.
Clean the Ramps (wild leeks) by trimming the base of the ramp, root end and wash thoroughly. Pat dry. Drizzle with EVOO and roast quickly, approx. 5 minutes in the oven. Reserve and keep warm.
For the eggs…
Butter the ramekin you will be cooking the egg in. If you have nice egg dishes, you can serve the egg in the dish and adjust the presentation with everything else. Line the buttered egg ramekin with a slice of proscuitto , a small piece of goat cheese and then crack the egg on top. Season lightly with salt and cracked black pepper. Bake in a water bath until the egg is soft-cooked, “coddled”, this will take approx. 6 minutes.
While the eggs are cooking, make a nice simple salad of shaved radishes and watercress that you bought hopefully from a local farmer! Season with a drizzle of EVOO, chopped parsley and a splash of Red Wine Vinegar.
Place a spoon of the polenta on the plate, spoon the egg carefully from the ramekin and top with the delicious and crisp salad.
This recipe was provided to us by Chef Carrie Nahabedian, chef-owner of Chicago-based Naha restaurant and 2008 winner of the James Beard “Best Chef, Great Lakes” award. In 2009, Chef Nahabedian was inducted into the Chef’s Hall of Fame.