Eggs with Polenta and Bitter Greens

This simple but delicious Italian classic is perfect for a hearty breakfast or an
elegant light dinner. The bitter taste in foods helps activate the digestive process
from the moment it hits your taste buds at the back of your tongue by increasing
bile and digestive enzymes, and it may also help reduce sugar cravings and
elevated blood sugar levels. The easiest way to incorporate the bitter flavor into
your diet is to eat bitter greens on a regular basis. Here I’ve utilized my favorite,
arugula, but see the herb profile for Bitter Greens for a more extensive list.
GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE, QUICK, VEGETARIAN
PREP TIME: “10” MINUTES | COOK TIME: “20” MINUTES
FOR THE POLENTA
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 cup polenta or corn grits
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
FOR THE BITTER GREENS
¼ cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (preferably apple cider, balsamic, or wine vinegar)
5 ounces arugula (or substitute any other bitter green in the herb profile)
FOR THE POACHED EGGS
4 eggs
FOR THE BOWLS
Olive oil, for serving
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest, for serving
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese and red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
TO MAKE THE POLENTA

  1. In a pot, add the salt to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the polenta.
  3. Stir well. Cover and reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes,
    stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
  4. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter, and keep warm until ready to serve.
    TO MAKE THE BITTER GREENS
  5. Put the water and the vinegar in a medium-size saucepan with a lid.
  6. Add the arugula and heat over medium heat. When the water begins to boil,
    stir once, cover, and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm
    until ready to serve.
    TO MAKE THE POACHED EGGS
  7. In a small saucepan, heat 3 inches of water to boiling; reduce to a simmer.
  8. One at a time, break the eggs into a small bowl and carefully lower them
    into the simmering water by slipping them from the bowl close to the
    surface.
  9. Cook uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the
    eggs out of the boiling water.
  10. Drain the eggs on a paper towel.
    TO ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS
  11. Place ½ cup warm polenta on the bottom of each bowl, followed by ¼ of the
    greens, and a poached egg on top.
  12. Drizzle the top of each bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a ¼
    teaspoon lemon zest. Add the cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired.
    COOKING TIP: If you aren’t feeling confident in your poaching skills or need to
    make multiple eggs for a family breakfast, no worries. Simply melt 1 tablespoon
    of butter in a sauté pan and fry your eggs sunny-side up before topping the
    polenta and bitter greens.
    HERB PROFILE
    BITTER GREENS
    Arugula, collards, dandelion greens, kale, Swiss chard
    SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS: None known
    TASTE/ACTIVITY: BITTER/COOL/DRY
    PROPERTIES: Nutritive
    USES: Treats sluggish digestion and chronic constipation; aids absorption
    and elimination; stimulates liver, gallbladder, and pancreas
    SUGGESTED PREPARATIONS: Raw in salads and juices is fine, but steamed
    or cooked with a splash of vinegar or citrus is easier to digest and
    increases the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals
    ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR: DIGESTION
    The bitter taste of greens can reduce cravings for sweet foods, stimulate
    metabolism and weight loss, help metabolize fats and lower cholesterol,
    detoxify the liver, balance hormones, and reduce inflammation. Many
    bitter greens are also mineral-rich. Cooking them will help make these
    minerals more bioavailable to the body.