Pancetta with smoked provolone, grilled polenta and quail eggs

Pancetta with smoked provolone, grilled polenta and quail eggs

By
From
Nuovo Mondo
Makes
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

Jim: This dish came about during a conversation between me and Stefano that started with a series of ‘What ifs’ and ended with this dish. We were doing a function at a high-end Italian provedore in Melbourne and decided the pancetta was too good to be grilled or cooked. We decided it should only be used as a ‘table pancetta’ and Stefano said ‘how good would it be with a bit of grilled polenta and some of that smoked provolone?’ not to be outdone, I suggested quail eggs also be added. And so a dish was born.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
Polenta, cut into 10 cm × 4 cm rectangles
4 smoked provolone or similar smoked cheese, cut into 13 cm × 7 cm strips
12 pancetta
6 Boiled quail eggs
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the griller (broiler) to high.
  2. Place the polenta on a baking tray, with the cheese on top.
  3. Place the tray under the hot griller until the cheese melts. Arrange a polenta piece on each serving plate, then immediately place 3 slices of pancetta on top of each portion so the pancetta wilts a bit from the heat of the polenta.
  4. Cut each quail egg in half – the yolks should be beautiful and runny but still holding their shape – and arrange on top of the polenta and pancetta. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Stefano:

  • I could eat polenta for breakfast! On a recent trip to Italy during mushroom season I was reminded how good polenta and funghi are together. I suggest, instead of the egg in this dish, cooking an array of mushrooms in a little butter, olive oil and garlic. Unruly mushrooms all over the pretty pieces of polenta with hand-torn fresh parsley and a crank of black pepper may look a bit messier but will taste just as marvellous. You can also replace the smoked provolone with an unsmoked cheese, and you can omit the pancetta to end up with a fabulous vegetarian dish.
Tags:
Stefano
de
Pieri
Jim
James
McDougall
Italian
Italy
European
Mediterranean
Stefanos
Stefano's
chef
restaurant
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