I woke up Saturday morning, vaguely hung-over from a night of karaoke and half-priced beers. It was one of those times when I wanted nothing more than two stacks of Eggs Benedict with a Mimosa, just to get the morning started off right. But with no bread, ham, juice or champagne in the fridge, things were looking pretty bleak for my high calorie breakfast.
What I did have staring back at me from my uncharacteristically barren fridge was a lump of cold cheese grits wrapped in plastic, and a sky blue terrine full of week old pate. They say that “necessity is the mother of all invention”, well, I was in dire need of some nourishment, so out came the congealed grits, a couple of eggs, and the pate.
I knew I’d never be able to pass the polenta off as an English muffin, but in it’s current state it looked more like some kind of industrial waste product than a food substance. It needed a miracle. As Miracle Max would say “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.” And so, I divided the lump up into little cakes, gussied them up with some flour, and dropped our little heros into some herbed olive oil to resurrect them.
The cheese in the grits combined with the flour dusted on the outside gave the cake a nice crisp crust, while the heat melted the creamy centers, giving them a contrast in textures that reminded me of croquettes. The egg burst open to reveal a creamy orange yolk that sauced the dish, and the pate became the stand-in meat-product for my faux Eggs Benedict. As for the Mimosa… I tried working a miracle here as well, but alas, my water did not turn into wine.
Non-recipe for Polenta Cakes with Eggs and Pate
Shape your leftover polenta into a block while it’s still warm, wrap it in plastic and store it in your fridge until you’re ready to use it. After a night in the fridge, it should be firm enough to slice. Cut the two ends off so they are perfectly flat (if they’re not flat they won’t brown evenly), then slice the cake into 1/3″ thick slices. Dust the cakes generously with flour and heat a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil until the oil is shimmering. You can add some fresh herbs to the oil for more flavor. Carefully place the cakes in the hot oil and fry one side until you can see the edges start turning a golden brown. Then, flip and fry the other side until similarly browned. When the cakes are done, transfer them to a paper towel to drain.
Cover the crispy cakes with a meat product of your choice such as ham, bacon, smoked salmon, or this pate, then place an egg on top. I poached mine, but you could use a fried egg, or even a scrambled egg.