Comfort food. What could possibly make it any better? Versatility, that's what. We'll get to that after I sketch the outline. The original recipe called for only 1/4 cup of onion-- what?! We like onion so I throw in a whole medium yellow onion. I use a touch more garlic and reserve the bacon as a garnish for texture-- creamy polenta and crunchy bacon means yum! Some crushed red pepper flakes never hurts either.
Back to that beautiful "V" word, I serve it as a side to roast meats, meatballs, and roasted vegetables. I send it for lunches packed in thermoses and we even enjoy it all by itself. However, there is another way, and it is my favorite way. First, crack open the windows to let the cool Fall air stream in. Then, put on your favorite bulky sweater (hoodie- optional). Ladle a good scoop of the creamy, cheesy polenta into a shallow bowl. Fry up an an egg, gently place it on top, and garnish with the salty, smoky bacon bits and fresh parsley. Set your hard working body down into your favorite comfy chair and dig in-- mmm! Now the only thing keeping you from getting out of that chair (and right back in) is dessert.
Corn Polenta with Bacon and Fontina
6-8 side-dish servings, 4-6 main-dish servings
1/2 cup (4-ounces) finely chopped bacon
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
1 cup polenta or coarse corn meal
1 cup (packed, about 3-ounces) grated Fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
In a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Add the onion and garlic to the drippings and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and corn. Bring the mixture to a boil. Whisking constantly, gradually add the cornmeal. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is soft and thick, about 20 minutes. Add the cheeses and stir until completely melted, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved cooked bacon, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2002 via Epicurious.com