I recently found myself craving two of my favorite dishes from the New York Times: Melissa Clark's olive oil fried eggs with polenta and Denise Landis' escarole with pan-roasted garlic and lemon. What if I were to combine the two? The resulting dish was pretty darn tasty. The textures of the smooth polenta, the still vaguely crunchy escarole and the crispy egg work well together, and you get variety up until the last bite. —Merrill Stubbs
polenta (not instant)
freshly ground black pepper
fat cloves garlic, finely sliced
small head escarole, cleaned and roughly chopped
Combine the polenta, milk, 1 1/2 cups cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the polenta simmer, whisking every few minutes to make sure it doesn't clump, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it's thick and creamy and tender to the bite. Once the polenta is cooked, taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and keep covered in a warm place.
While the polenta is cooking, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, and when it begins to sizzle, turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cook the garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and soft, 5-7 minutes (be careful not to let it burn). Add the escarole and a couple pinches of salt and stir to combine. Raise the heat back up to medium. Cook the escarole, stirring occasionally, until it is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and lemon juice, add more salt if necessary and cook for a minute or so longer. Transfer the escarole to a bowl, cover and keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet, return it to medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, carefully crack 2 eggs into the pan. Fry for a minute or two, until the whites are opaque and the edges start to turn golden. Carefully tip the pan so that the oil pools and spoon some of the hot oil over the tops of the eggs to finish cooking the whites. Remove to a warm plate lined with paper towels and repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.
To assemble, divide the polenta evenly between two shallow warmed bowls and top each serving with half of the escarole (use a slotted spoon so you don't get all of the juices) and two fried eggs. Grind some black pepper over the top and serve immediately with hot sauce on the side.