Main Dish Vegetarian

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto

August 14, 2014

Runny egg. Cheesy polenta. Salty olives. I should just end this post after those six words. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it was to photograph this Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto without drooling all over it or my camera. I mean it was painful. Food bloggers always joke about never being able to eat a hot meal and gosh if it isn’t so true! Watching that yellow yolk ooze out over the creamy polenta almost did me in. You better believe I set my camera down (after a bajillion pics, amiright?!) and instantly grabbed a spoon. Heaven. Salty, creamy, cheesy, eggy heaven.

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto

So, how’s it taste?

Clearly I hated it. 😉 I love when the simplest of ingredients come together into something insanely spectacular. Simple polenta with Asiago melted throughout. A delicate poached egg on top. Garnished with a pesto made from fresh/dried herbs, a little olive oil, and olives. The recipe calls for all fresh herbs, but I used dried oregano and thyme and it worked just fine. I have a weakness for fresh parsley, so I really wanted that herb to take center stage. Y’all. Please make this. It’s so so so good. You won’t be disappointed!

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto

It surprises people who know me that I hate to be the center of attention. I mean hate it. Public speaking brings out a fear in me like no other. Even small things like being at a big conference table and everyone looking at me speaking is almost unbearable. A few months ago I was in a meeting and when it came my turn to speak, I forgot a dean’s name. A DEAN’S NAME! Can I crawl under the table, please?

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto

So imagine how fun it was when I busted it in step class last night. Yep, sailed right off that step and faceplanted. Luckily I’m 100% ok, but the entire class stopped and rushed over. I wanted to melt into the floor. My instructor Mark is hilarious though. I think he could tell I was crazy embarrassed, so he made the joke that I went down so gracefully with my hand up like an ice skater. Hence, my new step class nickname…Nancy Kerrigan. I think it should be Grace. 😉

Yield: 4 servings

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto


1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh thyme, coarsely chopped

2 cups polenta
8 cups water (or more or less depending on how thick/thin you like it)
1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded (I used Asiago, Parmesan would work, too)
3/4 tsp. salt

4 eggs
1 tsp. white vinegar


1. For the pesto, mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. For the polenta, heat water in a large pot. When boiling, slowly pour in polenta. Lower the temperature to simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until polenta has absorbed the water. Take pot off heat and stir in cheese and salt. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

3. For the eggs, crack eggs into a small bowl, set aside. Heat another medium-sized pot with water, adding a sprinkle of salt and vinegar. When water is boiling, slide the four eggs into the water. Swirl with a spoon to help eggs form into solid shapes. Cook for about four minutes for a slightly runny center.

4. To assemble the dish, ladle about 1 1/2 cups of the polenta into a large bowl, add an egg to each bowl, garnish with the olive-herb pesto.

*Note: The recipe makes 4 servings, but I found the serving of polenta and pesto to be huge. I got 6 servings out of this dish, except for the eggs, of course.

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  • Jess @ whatjessicabakednext August 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I love polenta bowls at the moment, so delicious and really simple to make! Love the addition of poached egg and that olive herb pesto sound super lush! 🙂

  • alexandra August 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Done. Done, done, done. I’m not going to be able to get any work done today because this is going to be on my brain aaaaall day long. All of my favorite things. And I’m so jealous because I am still too scared to try poaching eggs at home. GACK. This looks unbelievably delicious. Beautiful!

    • Leah Short August 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

      You could always top it with a buttery, runny fried egg instead. 🙂

  • Maggie August 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Wow, the running egg is so great with polenta! I like polenta and used to top it with shrimp or mushroom, but the poached egg idea sounds even better! 🙂

  • Sues August 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    omg the first six words of this post made me drool, too… And then I saw the photos!

  • cheri August 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

    What a great combination Leah, I could eat this any time of the day.

  • Olivia - Primavera Kitchen August 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Oh Gosh this recipe is insane, but of the best kind, of course! I LOVE polenta and pacha eggs! So this is calling my name 😉

  • Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! August 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Adding a perfectly poached egg to a dish is one of my very favorite things. I am not even trying to attempt to imagine what a runny egg on top of cheesy polenta would taste like – I am afraid I’d drool all over my laptop ;). So gorgeous, Leah!

  • Sherri@The Well Floured Kitchen August 15, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Oh my, this looks amazing- wish I had it for breakfast right now. Pinned!

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice August 15, 2014 at 10:46 am

    This is my kind of breakfast! Your poached egg looks perfect (definitely a skill that I need to work on). And that herb pesto sounds crazy good!

  • lucie August 16, 2014 at 12:03 am

    This dish looks so delicious!

  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter August 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Yikes, glad you’re ok from step class – hopefully this meal helped make things better 🙂 I would have a hard time photographing this without drooling either – it looks crazy delicious! Especially that runny egg – so so good 🙂

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche August 16, 2014 at 5:18 am

    ooh never thought of combining polenta with poached eggs. definitely going to be giving this recipe a go. looks delicious!

  • Arpita@ TheGastronomicBong August 16, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Thats a lovely meal! Looks very delicious.. Love all the flavours.. 🙂

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic August 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    AAhhh I haven’t had polenta in ages and I am also drooling over these! Lol about Nancy Kerrigan!

  • Lesley Eats August 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Nice combination of flavors! I love polenta so much, yet I rarely prepare it. I need to fix that!