Sometimes, an idea can be so bonkers it might just work. It was a Saturday morning and I'd risen from my hovel a bit groggy and absolutely ravenous. There was nothing in the fridge; well, besides half a courgette, an avocado ready to turn and some leftover spring onion and ginger magic sauce that is literally the best thing ever if you can be bothered to chop three whole bunches of spring onion. A lone egg rolled around on the counter-top, bumping together with three pitiful cherry tomatoes. There was no way I could face going outside. What's a girl to do? Improvise.
The nice folk over at The Wasabi Company sent me some of their sauces to try, and I've been actively addicted to the Champonzu (red top) ever since. At £12.20 for a 300ml bottle, it's going to be an expensive addiction but you don't need much of it to bring out the five different Japanese citrus fruits. It has a very savoury base, with zesty orange and yuzu notes. I wanted this in my brunch. A ferret around the cupboard revealed the only carby base available to me was polenta. An idea was born.
Typically I'd look for cheese to enrich the polenta with and give it some flavour, but... no cheese. So instead, miso for a little umaminess to pep that polenta up. It worked an absolute treat, especially once you factor in the molten gold of that soft-boiled egg.
Miso Polenta Bowl
150gr instant polenta
2 heaped tsp light miso
A knob of butter
Half a courgette, sliced into thick matchsticks
Half an avocado, slivered at the last minute to prevent browning
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 soft boiled eggs, peeled
2 tbsp magic spring onion and ginger sauce
1 tbsp + 1 tsp champonzu (you could use a mixture of 60% light soy, 20% mirin, 10% sake and 10% lemon and lime juice at a real push...)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp chilli oil
Bring enough water to boil (as per the packet of polenta instructions) and whisk the polenta in. Add a lid half cocked and turn the heat low, and let it cook till you hear soft plop-plopping sounds. Then stir vigorously and place the lid on fully to cook for up to 10 minutes. Keep stirring so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
Meanwhile, heat the cooking oil in a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Fry the courgette sticks until they've softened, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook further until they're starting to collapse. Add the tsp of champonzu and remove from the heat.
Check on the polenta - add a large pinch of salt and keep stirring. It should be cooked at this point. Stir in the butter and miso until it has fully incorporated. Check the seasoning.
Assemble the bowls with half the polenta in each, then top with a halved soft boiled egg, the courgette and tomato mixture, the avocado, the spring onion and ginger sauce, and drizzle with chilli oil. Use the remaining tbsp of champonzu sauce to drizzle over the avocado in each.
(Got loads of miso leftover? Not sure what to do with the rest? My book, Chinatown Kitchen, has several recipes for it.)