Based on my last post about Doenjang (Soybean Paste) Stew, you should know that I’m not all that into breakfast. BUT, I decided to share an American breakfast (or maybe brunch?) option that I can get behind. It is a play on Bagels and Lox. For our American breakfast, I am serving polenta cakes with smoked salmon and goat cheese.
A few months back during the winter holidays, our grandparents, Pie-Pie and Marilyn, stopped by Zabars in New York. They brought back some smoked salmon, cream cheese, and bagels down south. Now I, of course, couldn’t eat the bagels so I started thinking about what would be a tasty substitute (to me, gluten free bagels are okay at best.)
I thought and thought, and finally decided – “Gosh darn it, why am I trying to replicate Marilyn’s northern sensibility?! I’m bringing out the grits.”
I eventually landed on the use of Polenta because it has better structural integrity (But UGH who likes that word? POOOLEEENTTTAA just sounds funny to me). Polenta is a staple of Italian cuisine while grits are a Southern American thing. Polenta is made from ground yellow corn and the texture is courser and thicker. Grits are typically made from white corn and are finer in texture. In other words, they are in the same flavor family but are not the same thing.
You can make the polenta the night before. Pour it into an inch-thick glass dish and let it chill. For all of those out there who are thinking, “Wait, she made me cook the polenta so that it can just cool off and harden again.” The answer is yes, yes I am. The purpose of cooling it is to let it harden. When hardened, you cut the individual cakes and pan sear (or pan fry if you want to go that route) the sides.
After that, all you have to do is chop some green onions and assemble on the polenta cakes. It is as easy as that! If you would like to substitute capers for the green onions go ahead! It is just as yummy.
I like goat cheese because it adds a bit more tanginess than the cream cheese option (which you can totally go for as well because it is equally as awesome.) The tanginess gives a punch of flavor behind the fresh smoothness of smoked salmon and the grittiness of the polenta.
In the end, these smoked salmon polenta cakes are my southern take on Bagels and Lox! I hope you enjoy!
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