A staple of Italian cuisine, polenta is a simple and easy way to add a touch of gourmet to your typical eggs-and-bacon brunch fare. In this recipe, starchy and satisfying polenta squares are grilled until crisp, and then complemented with a bed of sautéed spinach seasoned with garlic and red pepper. It all comes together with robiola cheese, a well-balanced combination that gives you a complex flavor that’s both tangy and creamy.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing
1 cup polenta
1 large bundle or bag of spinach with the stems trimmed
1 tsp red pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, diced.
8 slices robiola cheese (1/4 pound) at room temperature
2 tbsp butter
Fresh ground pepper
1. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly until it is blended and there are no lumps.
2. Meanwhile, lightly butter a 9-inch glass baking dish.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer the polenta, whisking often whisking until it starts to thicken, about five minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the texture is creamy and the grains are tender. Turn off the heat and mix in 2 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt.
4. Pour the hot polenta into the baking dish and let it set uncovered in the refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5. Cut the polenta into eight wedges or squares and lightly brush with olive oil.
6. On medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook until aromatic, about one minute. Increase the heat to high and add the spinach, cooking it until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
7. On a stovetop griddle, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the polenta until crisp and lightly charred, about five minutes on each side.
8. Plate your dish with a layer of spinach, followed by two pieces of polenta topped with two robiola slices. Garnish with fresh basil and bon appetito!
When you bring out a tray of these simple yet delicious polenta squares, get ready to impress your brunch guests with this crowd-pleasing, easy to make recipe.