Test Kitchen - Breakfast Polenta with Sausage

When I posted the picture of a package of pre-made polenta from Fresh & Easy for last week's Test Kitchen ingredient, I didn't expect that there would be so much activity on Facebook about it! It was a mixture of suggestions for recipes and pleas for me to make my own instead of using store-bought. But alas, I am curious and had to try it both ways. I did make polenta from scratch with some yummy shrimp (recipe here) but also gave this a go and boy can we taste the difference! My suggestion is to go fresh from now so this recipe for a breakfast dish below can use either but the pictures show me using the store-bought.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 2-3 servings)

  • 1 lb polenta
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt, divided
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh hot Italian sausage
  • 6 oz tomato sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • black pepper, to taste

Step 2: Prepping the polenta
The duration of time for this step will really vary based on if you are using pre-made polenta or making your own. Your end goal is to have 12-15 slices of polenta though so if you make your own, refrigerate it until firm enough to slice; if you have pre-made polenta, slice about 3/4" thick. Heat a large skillet with enough olive oil to thinly coat the surface. Sprinkle on half the garlic salt. Fry one side of the polenta slices and sprinkle other half of garlic salt on top. Flip. You'll want this golden and crisp.

Step 3: Cooking the toppings
One pound of hot Italian sausages equated to three hefty links for me. I fried these on the same skillet as the polenta had been on. Only after they were cooked did I slice them to allow for juices to stay as intact as possible. Then I heated up tomato sauce in the sausage skillet (use your favorite!). In a separate skillet, I fried eggs.

Step 4: Finishing
The steps sound so rudimentary but the dish itself kind of is. It's a full breakfast made from ingredients you can throw together! I layered polenta on the bottom, topped with sliced sausage, drizzled with tomato sauce, and finished with a runny egg. Then I cracked some black pepper on top and enjoyed as should you!

This week's Test Kitchen ingredient: papalo
After eating some papalo in a dish at Taco Maria, I was curious about the herb. Then we spotted a sproutling at a Hispanic supermarket near us and needed to see if Duc could grow it. Looks like his green thumb is working because we managed to get to harvestable amounts. What should I do with it? Comment when the picture goes up on Facebook! It's also known as Bolivian Coriander and can be described as in taste as between arugula and cilantro.

Photography by Minerva Thai & Duc Duong.