Delicious polenta is topped with crispy pancetta, a perfectly-cooked poached egg and a drizzle of homemade pesto.
For this recipe, the polenta needs to be stiff, so we generally use a 4:1 ratio of liquid to cornmeal, but this will depend on the grind of cornmeal you are using.
To make the polenta, pour the cornmeal, salt and cold liquid into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking quite frequently.
Once the polenta comes to a gentle boil, turn the heat down to low and continue to simmer until the polenta is done to your liking. This may take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the grind of the cornmeal. Taste the polenta for doneness. The grains should be fully hydrated and not al dente. The mixture should be thick.
Pour the polenta into a well-greased, 8″ × 8″ -inch pan. Smooth out the top to form a flat surface. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to fully set.
Once chilled and firm, unmold the polenta and cut into 4 even squares.
Preheat your oven to 325° F.
Line two small trays with parchment paper. Place the polenta squares onto the tray and transfer to the oven to warm through.
Place the pancetta in a single layer onto the other tray. Transfer to the oven and bake the pancetta until it is crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once during cooking. Once the pancetta is done, set it on a paper towel to drain.
While the pancetta is cooking and the polenta is heating through, you can go ahead and poach the eggs.
To poach the eggs, use a pan that is at least 3" -inches deep. Fill it three-quarters full with water. Add the salt and vinegar and bring to a gentle boil.
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to just below a simmer. Gently add the eggs one at a time. Poach the eggs to your desired doneness. For soft poached eggs, the whites should be firm to the touch but the yolk should still be soft. This should only take between 2 to 4 minutes.
Place the warmed polenta onto a warm plate. Top with the crispy pancetta and poached egg. Drizzle with homemade pesto and season to taste with salt and pepper.