Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Baby Asparagus

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A hearty breakfast for a day of sail boat racing!

San Francisco... my favorite big city!

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With the America's Cup being just up the coast from us, we had to take advantage and check it out.  Of course, I didn't need much of an excuse to spend the weekend in San Francisco, especially because I knew we could make it a food tour as well.  Hubby got his boat fix and I got my food fix... perfect!!

Throughout the weekend we had several fabulous meals.  The restaurant scene is so happening in San Francisco.  It can be a little overwhelming.  There is no end to awesome food.  I was able to narrow it down by checking out Michael Bauer's blog on Inside Scoop SF.  He recommended one new restaurant in particular I can't wait to talk about.  Look for more in later posts.  Let's just say I was in heaven with all the choices.  I literally had butterflies with excitement!

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One of my favorite places in the Embarcadero area is the Ferry Building Marketplace, full of artisan producers and local farmers.  You can find everything from olive oil to local fish.

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There are so many wonderful vendors.  As a bonus, the local Farmer's Market happens on Saturdays.  I loved taking my time and checking out all the specialties like...

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exotic mushrooms and...

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the patisserie.

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My favorite little spot had to be the Cowgirl Creamery, an artisan cheese shop.  We ate a quick breakfast at the counter of their "Sidekick Cafe" before the America's Cup races.  Poached egg on cheese grits with pancetta bacon... yum!

The presentation definitely does not do the taste justice.  This was absolutely yummy and hearty.  Great carb load for our four mile power walk to Crissy Field.  This reminded me of my polenta dish I serve for breakfast on Green Flash.  Mine is a little lighter version and I do polenta instead of grits and add asparagus.  For a cool fall or winter day, I think the pancetta on top rather than the asparagus would be a great option.

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While we were there we picked up our picnic to enjoy while watching the races.  The Cowgirl Creamery is a European style cheese shop.  They make their own cheeses in Pt. Reyes, but also feature organic and artisan cheeses from around the world.  So many choices!

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I went with these three... Mt. Tam Triple Cream by Cowgirl Creamery, Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove, and a hard Mezzo Secco by Vella Cheese Co.  Such a nice variety.  Also picked up some mixed olives.

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Another great little vendor in the Ferry Building is Boccalone, artisan meats, "tasty salted pig parts".  These little salumi cones with three different meats are a great way to go, especially for a picnic.

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Ok... I got the cheese, olives, meats and now for the bread.  The Acme Bread Co., artisan breads, are baked fresh 24 hours a day.  I went with an olive roll and a nine grain country roll to complete our picnic.

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We definitely earned our lunch on our power walk to Crissy Field.

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At first I was more excited for our picnic than the racing.  But, I have to say... seeing those boats in person took my breathe away.  It's one thing to see them on TV, but live was a whole different story.  These boats are flying machines!

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We lucked out and found a great viewing point on the wall at Crissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge.  We were right in front of the start.  It was a beautiful clear day with a good breeze, which made for a lively day of racing.  The combination of awesome sail boat racing and a delicious picnic made for a wonderful afternoon.

Now... for my recipe.  Here is my version of our breakfast at Cowgirl Creamery.  I personally prefer the texture of polenta to grits.  Grits can become mushy.  Southern grits and Italian polenta are both made from stone-ground cornmeal, however, grits and polenta are made from two very different types of corn.  If you are in the store and can't find "polenta", a stone-ground course cornmeal will be just fine.

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Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Baby Asparagus

Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Baby Asparagus

Recipe Type: Breakfast

Author: Sherri

Serves: 4

If you would like a heartier version, replace the Asparagus with Pancetta or Bacon.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 C coarse Polenta
  • 1 bundle (about a pound) Baby Asparagus
  • 6 Scallions, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 lb Parmesan Cheese, shaved
  • Handful Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine 1 3/4 cup Polenta with 6 cups cold Water in a heavy, deep pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, toss in a bit of salt and reduce to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring very frequently and adding Water and Butter to your liking.
  3. Meanwhile, prep Asparagus on baking sheet.
  4. Coat with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and zest of 2 Lemons.
  5. Reserve a little Lemon zest for the top of prepared plates or bowls.
  6. Broil on the top rack for no more than 5 minutes.
  7. Remove Asparagus from pan and set aside.
  8. Slice the Garlic and Scallions and toss in leftover Olive Oil from the Asparagus on the baking sheet.
  9. Squeeze the Juice of the fully zested Lemons over the Garlic and Onions. Add a bit more Olive Oil if you feel necessary.
  10. Return to the broiler, and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
  11. Pull them out when they have a nice brown char on the edges. Set aside.
  12. Prepare the Water for poaching the Eggs in a deep pan. Once things come to a boil, it’s time to start prepping the serving bowls or plates with the warm Polenta and Asparagus.
  13. Place 1-ish cup of the Polenta on each bowl or plate, followed by 3 to 5 spears of the Asparagus. I like to use an odd number.
  14. Place finished Egg on top of the Asparagus, and pile on a generous handful of charred Onions and Garlic.
  15. Sprinkle shaved Parmesan Cheese.
  16. Sprinkle fresh Parsley and Lemon Zest.
  17. Salt and Pepper lightly. I like to use white pepper for this dish, but not necessary.

 

 

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