The day I found out that you can cook polenta, cool it, cut it into squares and fry it was a good day. I had no idea! The only way I knew polenta was in grits form — kind of soupy. Like corn oatmeal. Every Southern Belle probably just shook their heads and mumbled “Bless her little heart.” Grits just aren’t a thing around here and I’ve never been a huge fan of that texture.
My initial goal was to fry the polenta into crispy squares. This was a good idea in theory, but the grease splatter burns up and down my arms beg to differ. Don’t even attempt to fry these babies. There is way too much moisture in them. I think I muttered “Now what am I going to do?” 6 times under my breath while trying to salvage what was in the pan. Justin (being the genius that he is) suggested just putting them on a cookie sheet in the oven so that the moisture can dry up. In the oven they went. I planned to let them dry, then try frying again because I was really determined to have a crispy polenta cake. After 15 minutes or so in the oven, I realized they were turning golden brown and crispy — just like I wanted! No grease splatter burns and baking is generally healthier than frying, so this is definitely the way to go.
You can cook your eggs whichever way you like. Justin isn’t a fan of runny yolks, so we usually scramble around here. I caramelized some onions and stirred them into the eggs while they cooked and it was fantastic. Add whatever you like! Onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, sausage, bacon, etc.
This recipe takes a little time, simply because the polenta has to set. There isn’t much hands on time though. I highly recommend making the polenta a day or two ahead of time.
Polenta Egg Sandwiches
2 cups Milk
1 3/4 cups Water
1/4 cup Butter
Dash or 2 of Salt
1 cup Polenta/Corn Grits — I did not use the quick cooking variety
1/3 cup shredded Cheese — I used smoked mozzarella because that’s what we had and it’s tasty. Cheddar would work well too.
Any other toppings you would like
Over medium-high heat, whisk together the milk, water, butter and salt
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom as you stir.
Once you reach a boil, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the polenta
Return to heat and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly
— The polenta will start to thicken significantly
Remove from heat and stir in cheese
Pour into a thoroughly greased 9×13 baking dish
Allow to cool, then refrigerate until cold and firm — 3-4 hours minimum, 2-3 days maximum
To make the sandwiches, preheat your oven to 425°F
Cut the polenta into squares and carefully remove them from the pan with a spatula, placing them on a cookie sheet
Bake until golden brown on both sides (40-50 minutes,) flipping halfway through
Cook your eggs and other toppings while the polenta is baking
Sandwich everything together and enjoy!