Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Semolina and Bacon

I'm sure most of you know what I mean when I say that certain meals more than others can take you back to your mom's kitchen and that ultimate feeling of comfort and safety. I remember waking up early morning and sitting sleepy at the breakfast table while my mom peeled off the tip of a soft boiled egg, stuck it into a cute little humpty dumpty egg holder, and let me dip little strips of buttery toast in. Delicious. The recipe I'm about to share is good for winter or summer, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's so simple you can play around with it however you want; add herbs, various cheeses, even wine. It is total comfort food--a delicate fusion of traditional southern cooking with Italian elegance and simplicity. I hope you enjoy :)

Ingredients (serves 4)

-4 strips of bacon
-4 cups chicken broth (or water with chicken bouillon)
-more or less 3 cups of fine yellow corn meal
-parmesan cheese for topping
-4 eggs (optional)

Drizzle about a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a frying pan and begin frying up your strips of bacon. You want them nice and crispy but remember they will continue to cook a little bit after you remove them from the pan.

In a medium soup pot, bring your chicken broth to a boil. This is the part where you could add some special herbs like thyme and bay leaf if you want. If you want to add basil, I would wait till the corn meal has thickened so the flavor stays fresh. Sometimes my mom would also add in 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of white wine to the broth as well. Once the broth boils, slowly add the semolina in while whisking constantly. Just keep adding the corn meal until the mixture begins to thicken, then let it simmer for a few minutes till the corn meal has absorbed the broth. At this point you could add a favorite melting cheese like cheddar or havarti. Remove from the heat and cover.

After the bacon has fried, let the oil and drippings cool a little bit then add your eggs in and fry sunny-side-up. (You have to let the bacon grease cool unless you want "french lace" around your eggs; my dad loved this but I am not a fan). Spoon the semolina into shallow bowls. Gently serve an egg over each helping, then sprinkle with crushed bacon. Finally, sprinkle a generous handful of parmesan on top and serve. You could also sprinkle a little basil chiffonade on top too, which would be yummy.

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