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In a small saucepan bring water to boiling. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine cornmeal, milk and salt. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and dried basil, if using. Place in a serving bowl; keep warm.
Half fill skillet with water. Bring the water to boiling; reduce heat to simmering (bubbles should begin to break the surface of the water). Break one of the eggs into a measuring cup. Holding the lip of the cup as close to the water as possible, carefully slide egg into simmering water. Repeat with remaining eggs, allowing each egg an equal amount of space. Simmer eggs, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon.
In a large skillet, cook onion in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring 2 minutes more or until they begin to soften. Sprinkle with pepper.
Serve polenta topped with a poached egg and tomato mixture. Garnish with fresh basil and/or arugula, if using.