Growing up in Ireland we had bread and potatoes. Rice and pasta when my mother tried her hand at international food. I was in my teens before I encountered polenta; a hard little shuttle puck of loaf, char-grilled, and served alongside a steak. It didn’t make a favorable first impression: coarse grained, bland, and dried out. But a finer grain, simmered to a soft, creamy consistency, makes an excellent porridge. You can jazz it up with any number of toppings, sweet or savory. Polenta is on sale at Jenny Lou‘s and April Gourmet‘s around Beijing, and it’s also available at Sanyuanli market.
Coconut Cream Strawberry Polenta
Does that not look (and sound) delicious? Instant polenta cooks for five minutes in coconut milk, while the flaked coconut toasts in the oven. If you make this recipe with slow-cooked polenta it will taste even better. Strawberries aren’t in season; you can substitute with any soft-fleshed fruit.
Breakfast Polenta with Maple and Mascarpone
Pictured up top, this recipe calls for a 25 minute cooking time, and pairs creamy polenta with thick, rich marscarpone, warmed maple syrup, fresh fruit, and toasted nuts. If the description alone doesn’t have you drooling, check your pulse; because my friend, you’re dead inside.
Creamy Breakfast Polenta with Asiago, Thyme, Bacon, and Poached Eggs
Poached eggs and bacon are a match made in heaven. With a strongly flavored cheese, (asiago, as the recipe calls for, or a strong parmesan), and a soft dollop of polenta, this is a filling bowl to start the day with.
Photos: Courtesy of edibleperspective.com, thecurvycarrot.com, and bakerbettie.com