Sunday, November 13, 2011

Polenta Round with Smoked Tuna and a Poached Egg

          One of the most popular versions of a continental breakfast is a toast with a slice of ham and an egg. If you look at it from a different angle and turn your imagination on, you can use this classic dish (which is not very exciting in its original form) as a starting point for creating something new. You should basicly “deconstruct” the dish in your mind: divide it into parts and think of the way to alternate them. For example, you can use a hushbrown or a vegetable fritter instead of a slice of bread for the base of your toast, you can substitute ham with a piece of tofu or a roundel of grilled aubergine, you can choose a fried egg or a scrambled one, and pick any sauce, chutney, relish or condiment to go with it. 

            Today I substitute bread with a polenta round: crispy outside and soft inside, with a hint of parmesan. A nice piece of smoked tuna goes next; I top it with a poached egg (using a special egg poacher to get the perfect shape) and there’s only thing left to add – a teaspoon of pesto. My breakfast stack is ready and, let me tell you, it has a much more refined look and a more exquisite taste that the original dish!


100 gm polenta
300 ml milk
300 ml chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp parmesan, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
150 gm smoked tuna, cut into thin slices
6 eggs
2 tbsp green pesto
a few basil springs


  1. Take a 23x15cm tin, line it with foil and grease slightly.
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk together with the chicken stock to a boil. Pour in polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat, add butter and parmesan and mix well. Using a palette knife, spread the polenta mixture in a prepared tin. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or until set.
  3. Carefully remove polenta from the tin. Using a 7,5 cm cutter, cut 6 rounds from the rectangle. Heat oil in a pan over high heat and fry the polenta rounds till golden brown on both sides.
  4. Using 5 cm cutter, cut six rounds from the tuna slices. Arrange them on top of the polenta.
  5. Poach eggs and place them on tuna slices. Put 1 tsp of pesto on each egg and garnish with basil leaves.


1.      Uncooked polenta rounds can be kept in the fridge for a few days. Fry them on a hot pan just before you need them. Alternatively, place them under a preheated grill or in a hot oven, turning once during cooking time.
2.      You can make small canapés out of polenta. Make smaller rounds, top them with tuna, salmon or proscuitto, place a slice of bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) on top and grill till the cheese melts. Serve with pesto as well.

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