I haven't been in a creative mood of late and most of the things I've been making at home are just repetitions of recipes I've already posted. In my pantry I had prepared polenta which I found at the market and I never knew what to make with it, but then inspiration hit and this is what came of it. This meal is the perfect brunch item, it's beautifully crispy with a tender middle, then there's a layer of smoky loveliness from the salmon, followed by 2 spears of asparagus, topped with a soft poached egg and bathed with a lovely creamy and luscious Hollandaise sauce. This is a labour of love, but love it you will! So here's what you'll need:
1 package kosher Aurora plain polenta (makes 8 rounds)
16 slices smoked salmon
8 eggs poached
3 cups water
1 tsp vinegar
8 spears steamed asparagus cut in two (optional)
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
10 tbsp unsalted butter (if using salted, do not add the salt)
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
For the Hollandaise:
Melt the butter in a small pot, be careful not to let it boil and set aside. Then add the egg yolks, lemon juice and cayenne into a blender, blend at a medium speed about 20 to 30 seconds. Once the yolks have lightened in color, turn the blender down to it's lowest speed and drizzle in the melted butter slowly. Once all the butter is Incorporated, buzz for another 2 or 3 seconds. Turn the blender off and taste to make sure it's well seasoned and has a lemony side note. Store in a warm spot till ready to use (up to an hour and a half). This makes about 1 cup.
Now heat the oil in a heavy skillet, once hot add in the polenta that you've cut into discs, fry up each side for about 2 minutes, they must be golden brown, then set aside on paper towel.
In a medium sized pot, add the 3 cups of water and vinegar and bring to a simmer, which means that the water needs to almost come to a boil (takes about 10 minutes) but never the bubbles never actually break the surface, it's best achieved on a medium heat, then once ready gently drop in, not far from the water, one egg at a time (that you've previously cracked into a bowl) and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel.
Now for the assembly: place the polenta disc on a plate, then add 2 slices of smoked salmon, then place the 2 pieces of asparagus, top gently with the poached egg, add salt and pepper to taste, then spoon over with Hollandaise sauce, serve and enjoy!