Swiss Chard with Creamy Polenta and a Fried Egg on Top!

Last year during CSA season, I made a baked polenta with Swiss chard and cheese, which was the first time I ever cooked with Swiss chard. This week I got my first two bunches of Swiss chard, and I thought I'd try to create the same dish. But with a twist! And I gave it a twist because I wanted to cook on the stovetop only. I guess I didn't want to fuss with the oven. LAZY.

So yesterday evening, I made a creamy and cheesy polenta topped with Swiss chard and then topped again with a fried egg! The fried egg makes it gourmet, right? 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal (I used the cornmeal because it was in my pantry) 
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan (still using that huge wedge of Parmesan I bought for my lemony risotto with kale and radishes!)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips (although I did toss a handful of bias cut stem pieces into the mix)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat
  • Eggs (however many you'd like to make -- this dish can serve four, so fry an egg for each serving)
  • Salt and pepper

My Steps:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of of polenta/cornmeal to the boiling water, whisking it as you pour it into the saucepan.
  3. Turn the heat down to low. In fact, you might even want to turn the heat off for a minute because you'll notice that the polenta/cornmeal will start "popping" -- and you don't want to get hot polenta splattered on you.
  4. Continue stirring occasionally. Keep the polenta going like this for 10 minutes.
  5. While you're keeping the polenta going on one burner to get it to thicken up, pour a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) into another pan and heat it at around medium-high heat.
  6. When the EVOO is hot, throw in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 30 seconds. Don't burn the garlic!
  7. Then add in the pieces of Swiss chard. Turn it down to medium heat. And don't forget to stir your polenta. 
  8. Now you have two pans going. Keep stirring! The polenta will continue to thicken, and the Swiss chard will wilt nicely.
  9. After your polenta has had 10 minutes to thicken up, stir in the 1/2 stick of butter and the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. Now it'll be creamy and cheesy. Give it a little salt and pepper, and it's done.
  10. Also after 10 minutes, your Swiss chard should be perfectly wilted.
  11. Put the Swiss chard aside on a plate, and in the same pan, heat up another tablespoon of EVOO. 
  12. Then fry your egg! You can do it sunny side up or over easy. However you like it. (I make mine over easy, but that's because I haven't figured out how to properly fry a sunny side up egg.) 
  13. When your egg is ready and has crispy edges, put it on a paper towel so that excess oil drips out. 
  14. Now grab a plate and start layering the goods! Creamy, cheesy polenta on the bottom. Wilted Swiss chard on top. And a fried egg with a runny yolk on top of it all! Grate a little extra Parmesan all over it as a bonus.

When you cut the egg, the yolk turns into a sauce that pulls together all of the flavors of the cheesy polenta and garlicky Swiss chard. It's a hearty dish you can prepare in under 30 minutes, starring one of my favorite leafy greens that also happens to be one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. Superfood!

Bon appétit, mes amis!