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Polenta with Broccoli Rabe and Fried Eggs

Serves: Makes 6 servings


  • 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups polenta
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, thick stems and wilted leaves trimmed
  • Large pinch of red chile flakes
  • 6 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for shaving


This is one of my go-to, I-don’t-feel-like-shopping dinners. Because I always have polenta and eggs in the house, and usually there’s something green to sauté, I can make it when it’s stormy out, or if I’m working late on a deadline, or if I’d just rather go for a run than run to the store. You can substitute other greens like kale or spinach for the broccoli rabe; I do this often, since they’re both regulars in my CSA box. Just note that spinach and kale cook up more quickly than the rabe, so keep an eye on them. Or leave out the sautéed veggies altogether and serve the creamy polenta with a big, crisp green salad—a perfect plan if your CSA leans harder on lettuces than braising greens.

In a medium pot, combine 6 cups of water (or use broth if you prefer), 1¼ teaspoons of the salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and then slowly whisk in the polenta. Stir frequently until the polenta has thickened enough that it no longer sinks to the bottom of the pot, 5 to 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer very gently until tender, 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the coarseness of the grind). Remove the bay leaf and stir in the butter.

While the polenta is cooking, place a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat until it is shimmering. Stir in the smashed garlic and cook until it is golden brown and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Toss the broccoli rabe and chile flakes into the skillet, and cook until the leaves wilt and the stems just begin to color, about 3 minutes. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in ¼ cup of water, partially cover the skillet, and cook until the stems are tender, about 10 minutes. If there’s liquid left in the pan, take the cover off, raise the heat, and let it evaporate.

Transfer the broccoli rabe to a plate, and wipe out the skillet if necessary. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and let it heat up. Crack the eggs into the skillet, and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Fry the eggs sunny-side-up, or flip them over for over-easy.

Spoon the polenta into bowls and top each serving with broccoli rabe and a fried egg. Use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the bowl.

Reprinted from Dinner: Changing the Game copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

by Dinner

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