A good Eggs Benedict is absolutely one of my favorite brunch dishes ever. There’s a few issues with it though.
For starters, they require a small amount of skill. The hollandaise sauce can break. The eggs might not be cooked perfectly. Either of these things can pretty much ruin the dish for me.
So I came up with this starter Benedict which I’m calling a “stack”. The hollandaise sauce isn’t really needed because of the over-easy egg and the fact that the dry English muffin is replaced with a creamy polenta circle.
Loyal Eggs Benedict fans might scoff, but I thought this worked out just fine.
Yield: Enough Polenta for 5-6.
1 3/4 Cups corn polenta
6 Cups water
2 Teaspoons salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons butter
Bacon, 1 strip per stack
Tomato, 1 slice per stack
Eggs, 1 per stack
Round Cookie Cutter
1) Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. While simmering, whisk in polenta along with salt.
2) Stir until thick, about 10 minutes. Add pepper and butter.
3) Pour polenta onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for thirty minutes.
4) Cut circles out of the polenta (or any shape).
5) Cook bacon until crispy. Slice tomatoes.
6) Fry polenta circles over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side or until they are lightly golden browned.
7) Top polenta circle with slice of cheese. Broil for 20 seconds to melt cheese.
8) Top with tomato, bacon, and an over-easy egg.
Now some people might say that I’ve made benedicts harder by subbing the english muffin for a polenta piece, but polenta is dumb simple to make.
I mean it’s just corn people!
Start by bringing your water to a boil in a medium pot with a good pinch of salt. When it’s simmering, just pour in your polenta in a steady stream while whisking.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to stir it for about 10 minutes until it’s nice and thick. Then add in some butter and pepper.
Now you could eat it just like this (grits), but if you pour it out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and let it cool for about 30 minutes in the fridge, it’ll become a firm block.
Then you can cut shapes out with it!
Once you remove the extra, you’ll have these perfect little polenta circles.
People will be really impressed, but seriously these are pretty fail proof.
Now you could use traditional Benedict ingredients like ham, spinach, or even crab for this, but I went with some fresh tomato, sliced pretty thick.
And some good bacon that I fried up until crispy.
Finishing the Dish
The key to serving these little polenta guys is to lightly sear them on each side before building your stack. This will make them a bit crunchy on the outside, but still nice and soft on the inside.
I used the same pan I used for my bacon and even left some of the bacon grease to give them some flavor.
About 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat should do the trick.
Once they came out of the pan, I topped them with a slice of Provolone cheese that I cut to the same size.
These went under the broiler for about 20 seconds just to melt the cheese.
Then add the tomato, bacon, and a lightly fried egg.
Over-easy is really the only way to go on the egg since we don’t have a sauce.
When you cut into the egg, it kinds of spills all over the place and mixes with the polenta. The bacon and tomato go well together as always.
This was a really delicious brunch and I found that I didn’t even miss the heavy hollandaise sauce really.
Ok. Maybe a little bit.
But the polenta was kind of the star of the show actually which I liked. And you could easily make this for a good amount of people for brunch without too much fuss.
If you like the idea of stacking things and topping them with eggs (who doesn’t?), give this a shot.