When chefs create, we are careful to employ a variety of textures in order to make the dish more appealing. I put this one together for a fashion show brunch. The show featured a collection of silk garments, my inspiration.
by Tina Martini, The Medicine Chef
The polenta is like a cloud on the palate. Or, perhaps it’s smoke because there’s fire on the way. When your fork breaks that golden yolk on top of the polenta, it becomes a silky sauce and a second layer of flavor. This style of cuisine is best kept simple. So, this is where we focus on our, “cook-the-ingredients-perfectly” mantra. The corn salad offers textural variety, as well as the acid needed to keep the richness in balance.
- 2 Ears Yellow Corn, shucked, washed, and dried
- 1/3 c Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 3/4 c Water
- 2 Tbls Fresh Oregano, leaves only, chopped
- 1 small clove Garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp Lemon zest
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 2 tsps Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil.
- Add sun dried tomatoes, turn off the heat and set aside.
- Turn a small mixing bowl upside down and place it in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
- Trim the ends of the corn so they will stand securely on the small bowl.
- Working with one ear at a time, stand the ear up on the bottom of the small bowl and run the knife blade down the length of the ear. Strip all of the kernals off the cob.
- Turn your knife over and “milk” the cob, scrapping the liquid out with the dull side of the knife. (Don’t push too hard, you don’t want the cob to slip.)
- Set the corn and “corn milk” aside.
- Drain the sun dried tomatoes, *reserving liquid. Chop fine, and add to corn.
- Add remaining ingredients to the corn, and toss lightly.
- Scrap into a small bowl, cover, and chill.
Spicy Polenta and Poached Eggs
Get your mise en place together for the eggs and polenta. Prepare the pans you will need to poach the eggs and cook the polenta. A heavy high-sided pan for the polenta and a deep saute’ or wide-mouth saucepan for the eggs. Bring the water to a boil in both pans, turn off heat and cover while you get everything else ready. This way your water is waiting for you. You’re not waiting for the water. You’ll also want a round bottom, hand-held mesh strainer, a medium mixing bowl and a large bowl of warm water.
- 2 tsps Safflower, or Sunflower Oil (high heat)
- 2 cloves Garlic. minced
- 2 Holland Reds, Red Jalepenos, or Fresno Chilis, remove stems, seeds, and pith, finely chopped (wear gloves, please)
- 1 c Polenta
- 4 c Water or Veggie broth, (this should include the *Sun Dried Tomato Water)
- 1/2 c Half n Half
- 2 Tbls Butter
- Salt and Pepper
- 8 Eggs (if everyone is having 2)
- 1-2 slices of bread to “dry” poached eggs.
- Heat oil in small saute’ pan and cook garlic and chilis over medium-low heat 2-3 minutes.
- Bring polenta water to boil, add in soft garlic, chilis, and one teaspoon salt.
- Add polenta slowly, stirring the entire time.
- Once the polenta begins to thicken and pull away from the pan, stir in Half & Half and butter.
- Keep stirring until polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan and is light and creamy, ~20-25 minutes.
- Cover, and keep warm. (Polenta can be cooked and held in a double boiler. (Bain Marie-Water Bath))
Can you cook an egg? Here is THE TEST. The final exams in culinary school are usually soups and eggs, so, here we go!
- Bring your water to a lively simmer, 180 degrees.
- Set up four bowls, a plate with a slice of bread on it, a slotted spoon, and a medium bowl.
- Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl.
- Holding the strainer over the medium bowl, pour the eggs into the strainer. Shake gently to remove the watery part of the egg white.
- Gently lower the strainer into the water and roll the egg out. This should leave you with a perfectly formed egg.
- Cook 4-5 minutes.
- Remove cooked eggs with slotted spoon and carefully place into the warm water to hold until service.
When all eggs are cooked, stir your corn salad, spoon polenta into bowls, remove eggs with the slotted spoon and place on bread to absorb excess water. Place “dried” eggs on top of polenta and garnish with corn salad. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, and/or green onions, if desired.
Only organic, non-GMO corn, please. Both corn and sundried tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin A. We could call this the anti-sun damage salad. The corn contains a large amount of omega-6 fatty acid, good-for-the-skin fat, much higher than Omega-3. We really want the balance to be reversed. However, the occasional high dose of Omega-6 has been shown to burn body fat without exercise, more specifically, belly fat. We all would benefit greatly from the addition of more sun dried tomatoes in our nutrition plan. Removing the water from a food item, concentrates the nutrients. Sundried tomatoes, and tomato paste are the two highest forms of bio-available(easy to use,) lycopene. This phytonutrient reduces sun damage, protects the heart, and is the prostate cancer crusher. Polenta in stone-ground cornmeal. Not only is corn a great way to get our essential minerals, the stone grinding technique imparts even more minerals into our polenta. Polenta is also a good source of B vitamins. The poor egg has had an undeserved bad reputation for too long. Let’s look at what’s really going on. Eggs are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Again we have protection from sun damage, only this time it’s our eyes that are protected. Macular degeneration is the number one cause of adult blindness in this country. Lutein, and Zeaxanthin act as filters against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Cholesterol is always a concern when we’re talking about eggs. The concern is not the cholesterol, but the oxidization of said cholesterol. A scrambled egg is “stickier” in the arteries, than a fried egg. We break the yolk before cooking, exposing the cholesterol to oxygen, oxidizing the fat (cholesterol.) The bottom line is, all things in moderation. Trust in nature is helpful, as well. The egg white contains albumin which is a very powerful cholesterol lifter, keeping the fat moving through the arteries.
|by Chef Tina Martini, “The Medicine Chef” @MedicineChef | Facebook
Chef Martini is an experienced, well-versed television personality with a successful and proven track record. She holds a doctorate from Bastyr University in Naturopathy and a Nutrition degree from San Diego State University. She mixes cooking with nutrition, fitness and wellness!