Poached Eggs, Tomato & Polenta

February 11, 2015

 

 

Homemade tomato sauce (with anchovies, basil & garlic), fried polenta croutons, Danish Blue cheese, poached eggs, hazelnuts, sauteed tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, wilted frisee & radicchio

Poached eggs are a really good alternative to the baked egg on a pizza. They may sound like they're more complicated, but poaching an egg is actually a lot simpler than you'd think. Plus, you don't have to worry about cooking your eggs at the same rate as your pizza dough and finding that perfect balance between undercooked and not runny. When you poach them, you can worry about all that separately and just add your perfectly cooked eggs onto your pizza at the end. Of course, if you really want the simplest solution, you can always just fry your eggs and add them at the end—but they won't seem nearly as impressive as they do when you poach them.

Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough

olive oil

salt & pepper

flour for dusting

semolina flour for pizza stone

handful of hazelnuts

hunk of Danish blue (1-2 ounces), or your favorite blue cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

handful of cherry tomatoes

1/4 small head of radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces

1/2 head of frisee, torn into bite-size pieces

dash of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of butter

1/2 log pre-made polenta, cut into cubes

 

For the tomato sauce:

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 anchovies

2 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup basil

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. While it’s heating, start on the croutons. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to glisten. Right before you throw the polenta on, I like to turn it back down to low so that you don’t have hot oil sputtering in your face.

 

Then once the croutons have settled a bit, turn the heat back to medium and flip them with a spatula. Continue to flip the croutons occasionally until they are golden brown on all sides, then take them off the heat and set them aside. It may take a bit longer than you’d expect, so be patient.

 

While these are frying, you can make the tomato sauce. Drain the juices out of your can of tomatoes and add the tomatoes to a food processor along with the anchovies, garlic, olive oil and basil, pulsing until mostly smooth but with a bit of texture remaining. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

 

Next, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browning and starting to burst, about 4 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

 

Add the radicchio and frisee and cook for about 3 minutes more, until wilted. Next, stir in the balsamic, 1/2 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low as you toss everything together, then take it off the heat and set aside until ready to use.

 

Now you can start preparing your dough using the instructions on the right. During the minute it’s in the oven, you can crack your 4 eggs into 4 separate measuring cups or other easily pourable containers.

 

Then, when you’ve pre-baked your dough, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Spread the tomato sauce in a light, even layer across the pizza, followed by the blue cheese, radicchio mixture and polenta croutons. Scatter a handful of hazelnuts across the pizza.

 

Before you start baking (and the timing of this isn’t crucial, just a suggestion, so feel free to do this in whatever order works with your time management style), you can set a pot of water on the stove to get ready for your poached eggs. There should be enough water in the pot to cover the eggs, and the pot should be wide enough to fit all 4 of them comfortably (if you aren’t feeling super confident in your egg poaching, you can always do them in pairs). Add the white wine vinegar and bring to a rapid boil.

 

While the water is heating up, pop your pizza in the oven. Keep an eye on it while you poach your eggs—look for the crust to turn a nice golden brown before taking it out.

 

Meanwhile, when your water is boiling, gently pour your eggs one at a time into the boiling water, then take the pan off the heat and set your timer for 4 minutes. Pay attention to the order you poured the eggs in, because you’ll want to take them out in the same order to make sure they all get an even cooking time. When they’re ready, carefully lift them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel to dry*. 

 

When your pizza is finished baking, take it out and place the poached eggs carefully on top. Crack a little fresh pepper on top and enjoy!

*If you’re doing this any sooner than right before you’re about to finish the pizza, transfer them instead to a bowl of warm water and let them hang out there until you’re ready to use them—then drain on a paper towel.

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HOW TO PREPARE DOUGH

#1 

Start stretching it from the center, then move it around in a circle so that gravity stretches it and creates a natural crust. It helps to put some olive oil on your hands first.

 

#2

Place the dough on your floured surface & push it out with your fingertips until it's the size of your pizza stone. You can fold over the edges to create an extra fluffy crust.

 

#3

When the oven is hot (preheat it with the stone inside), sprinkle some semolina flour on the pizza stone and place your dough on it.

#4

Bake it for about a minute, or until it starts to bubble, then take it out. This last step isn't 100% necessary, but I feel like it adds a little extra crispiness to the crust.

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