On Saturday mornings, once a month, I join a handful of volunteers in my neighborhood to distribute groceries and share coffee & conversation with residents who often have trouble getting to the grocery store or find themselves with limited resources. The people who come to our post to pick-up goodies tend to be on the older side and Italian immigrants (this is the North End). I got the idea for this dish while talking to one of our residents last month: it’s a dish he remembered from his younger years. He described eggs poached in a simmering broth of tomatoes and garlic served over toast. He didn’t have a recipe per se, just thoughts and memories on ingredients and flavors.
Last weekend, I took a shot at the dish based just on our conversation. Instead of toast, I thought it would be fun to serve the eggs over a bed of polenta. I made it for both Saturday and Sunday breakfast, cooking the polenta by baking it first, and by pan-frying it the second day. Since poaching eggs can be a delicate task taking up much of a small stove top, I thought it simplified things to put the polenta cakes in the oven and just let them be.
Also, the first day we made it, I thought the tomatoes overpowered the flavors of the eggs. When you make this, it’s important to let the tomatoes cook long enough so they start to break up and form a sauce. The softer your tomato component, the better it will blend with the creamy polenta and runny yolks.